Billed as “100% medically accurate”, Tom Six’s The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is an experiment in vulgarity. A film Roger Ebert refused to assign a rating to; a film where people walked out of the test screening and a film that started out as a joke, but ended up as a serious waste of time.

From watching the sickening trailer, I was expecting not just a film full of profanity, violence and horror, but one of poor technical ability and a weak narrative. Apart from some questionable acting from the two female leads as the film gathers pace, I was surprised by the overall technical professionalism of the production. But is this enough to excuse the content of such a depraved story? In order to make such a dissolute film and try to pass it off as art, you at least need to show some of the imaginative and experimental qualities of say, Gaspar Noé or even Takashi Miike.

…Six and co. have quite simply created a monster…

A film which pushes boundaries via human mutilation and torture, I would be surprised if Tom Six could come up with a valid reason as to why this film needs to exist. Yes it shocking and it lingers in the memory, but I cannot take anything away from it apart from complete gratuitous thoughts of disdain.

I have always generally been in favour of the ideal that art should have no boundaries and that individuals should be able to express themselves fully, but The Human Centipede has helped me to realise there is one boundary:

A piece of art should always be considered as long as the creator can provide relevance and reasoning for his expression. But in this case I feel that Six and co. have quite simply created a monster, which has no social relevance, a lack of imagination and no place in an artistic field which already lacks quality and is hindered further by inclusions such as this. It is certainly not art and if instead it is passed off as entertainment, then call me prude but anyone who gets enjoyment or mental stimulation out of this should be kept an eye on.

A film which pushes boundaries via human mutilation and torture…

I have seen films that are more uncomfortable viewing due to their shocking nature (see Irreversible), but such examples are due to a grounding in reality and possibility. I class The Human Centipede along with films such as Ken Park and Shortbus. Films which think they have relevance and artistic merit but sorely lack both.

1 Star (at a push)


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