Don’t ask me how.
Don’t ask me why.
Here is my review of The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence).
SPOILERS: This review contains spoilers for The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence). I am normally very, very careful about spoilers, however when discussing the third part of a trilogy, especially one as self referential as this, I couldn’t avoid them. Putting spoiler warnings in the middle of the text didn’t really work, so last warning – this review contains spoilers for The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).
Ok, so where to begin.
The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) is the conclusion of Tom Six’s “body horror” trilogy that started back in 2009. The lead actors of the first two films (Dieter Laser and Laurence R. Harvey) are recast as a Prison Warden and accountant struggling to run a high security prison somewhere that is vaguely in the South West of the USA. Can they find a solution to the problems they have keeping the inmates in line and balancing the books?
I think that’s enough of a synopsis for this film. The Human Centipede films have never exactly been intricately plotted, although this does at least pay lip service to having a story, and the main characters are actual characters. I’m not saying Bill Boss and Dwight Butler are even close to being recognisable human beings, but at least they have some sort of depth, rather than just sinister German doctor or overweight, asthmatic car park attendant.
In fact, the character (as it is) of Bill Boss is one of the most ridiculous, over the top, horrible creations ever created. Dr Heiter in The Human Centipede was obviously warped and sinister, but he was a surgeon who wanted to create a human centipede, so he drugged some tourists and sowed them together. There was no internal conflict or strife. That was it, there was no character there. (And also no tension, because the poster shows he succeeded.) Similarly, Martin in The Human Centipede 2 was strange and bizarre, but he was simpleton obsessed with the idea of creating a human centipede after repeatedly watching the film, so he hits a dozen people in the head with a crowbar and staples them together. Beyond a bit of joy when it is completed, there’s no emotional depth or reason for (And again no tension, because the poster shows he succeeded.) This time, we find out that Boss is misogynistic, racist, and struggling to get respect from his inmates, so I guess that is something.
Which leads me to the quality of the acting. We only know that Boss is misogynistic because he sexually assaults his secretary (played by ex-pornstar Bree Olsen, so objectifying her is OK?) and says things like women don’t deserve to have opinions. We know he is racist because he uses derogatory terms about various black and Asian prisoners. And best of all, we know he is struggling to get respect from his inmates because he literally shouts “I just want respect!” in the first part of the film. Bill Boss shouts a lot in this film. Whether actor Dieter Laser or director Tom Six were responsible for this weird choice I’m not sure, but there is just so much shouting!
Similarly, Laurence R. Harvey is really bad as Dwight Butler, the accountant. In The Human Centipede 2, Harvey played the character by basically not reacting to the things that were happening around him. When required to actually act, he’s terrible. His accent wobbles all over the place, his delivery is stilted, and his movements are unnatural. It’s so disappointing that the director didn’t notice the accent, and the low budget can explain that maybe there wasn’t time for extensive rehearsal time, but it is not really acceptable for a performance this bad to get on screen.
Having seen Tom Six’s own performance, you can maybe see that his standards for his actors are quite low. Six decided that the trilogy wasn’t self referential enough, so he has the lead characters bring him to the prison to give them permission to use the human centipede idea in real life. This is excuse to have the characters tell him how good the films are, and to bring up the South Park episode and porn parody. Normally this sort of thing would stop the film dead in it’s tracks, but to be honest, it’s not even the strangest cameo in the film.
There’s a scene where Eric Roberts – yes, ERIC ROBERTS – turns up as the State Governor, worried about the prison’s reputation ruining his chance for re-election. The Governor is both bemused and confused by the management of the prison, and I doubt Eric Roberts had to do any acting at all to stretch to those emotions.
The Human Centipede was a low budget film that lured people in with an outrageous concept, and was frankly a bit boring. The Human Centipede 2 was a totally different movie, going even more low budget, but delivered on all the blood and gore by the bucketful, and on the way abandoned any sense of taste and decency by trying to frame the film through the warped point of view of a sick main character.
The Human Centipede 3 is somewhere between the two. There is some semblance of a story, and the violence and offensive content has been amped up to the max. It is a horrible, disgusting, but worst of all, badly-made film. I get that it is low budget. I get that it is a niche, genre film. But still, no matter how low your expectations, how desensitized you are, this is really, really offensively bad. Minus 5 Stars.
(I know, I need to work out a proper ranking system. Enjoy this comic from the talented guys over at Cyanide & Happiness as an apology)