THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 Review
Director: Tom Six
Genre: Body Horror
Tom Six’s THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 is an exceptionally bizarre film that is destined to disappoint virtually every viewer that finds themselves partaking. Although the winking heft of its sardonicism is to be expected, considering that this is the third installment of a series that never really had any business existing in the first place, the decision to make the film a comedy (albeit an extremely dark one) ensures that it alienates most of its core fan base, while still being far too absurdly grotesque to draw in the uninitiated. There is something intriguing present, as Six has made an attempt to concoct a narrative of sorts with characters we spend (what feels like) hours and hours with, but the decision to relegate the centipede to the third act as a final reveal cuts the legs out from under the visceral body horror that potential viewers likely expect. Instead we’re left with flaccid bursts of occasional gore and senseless violence that seem to be sprinkled arbitrarily, with only the occasional bizarro alt-comedy joke to guide us through the mire.
I expected art, goddammit
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 doesn’t gain any prestige in terms of actual filmic technique. However, the smallest amount of credit must be tossed in Six’s corner for the update in terms of gore portrayal. The scene towards the end where the surgeons hack off the limbs of dangerous prisoners who will be made into the “human caterpillar” sells itself well enough, and commendable special effects are utilized for acts such as the breaking of Inmate 178’s arm early on in the picture (although gorehounds are sure to be frustrated by the reveal of the boiling-waterboarding scene). That being said, there is a distinct lack of brutality present that is bound to vex fans of the series. The audience is never made privy to any of the messy consequences of having a human centipede composed of an entire prison yard, and punches are notably pulled compared to the first two films when it’s time to focus in on the forced imbibing of someone else’s refuse. Apart from a scene where Bill shoots a prisoner right in his stoma and a scene of a forced castration, there’s nothing truthfully cringeworthy present. It can be assumed that audiences pursue these films to be disturbed, and THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 fails to deliver, especially when it comes to the reveal of the actual centipede. While Bill Boss’ constant diatribes of wildly offensive drivel will be sure to make some uneasy, they lose their potency less than halfway through the movie (although “God bless Africa! God bless female circumcision!” is certainly memorable).
Tfw SWISH is delayed indefinitely
The film’s lack of vitality is furthered by the tonal palette that it employs. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 is nearly nauseatingly self-referential and meta-, and the viewer’s respective enjoyment of such antics depends on how much of a cynical high schooler they are. The meta- material rarely manages to be clever (in one scene Bill Boss forces the inmates to watch the first two films before being informed that they’ll suffer a similar fate, and their reactions to the movies seem to be cribbed from reviews and reactions to the series and Six as a director; this is the most clever the film gets), but most of its punches are weak and can be seen from a mile away (although Tom Six’s performance ends up being a highlight of the film, the fact that his arrival at the prison is trumpeted with such ham-fisted fanfare will be sure to inspire an eye roll or two).
His pug remains depressingly absent
To be fair, the film has a handful of scenes that are legitimately humorous (such as the scene where Bill and Dwight play act as Bill and the Mayor in preparation for his impending visit). In addition, Dieter Laser’s performance deserves a certain amount of recognition for this constant totality of emotion. Never giving him the chance to catch a breath, Tom Six pushes Laser to rant and rave himself into a nigh unbelievable froth, and although certainly unappealing, it can’t be said that his acting is unskilled. The final shot of a naked Laser firing a rifle into the sky while screaming incoherently into a microphone as his digestive creation continues unabated may be the only image that the series has created that can be considered “powerful.”
Although admirable for pushing the general subject material into new territory, for the amount of time the audience spends with these characters, it’s obnoxious how static they remain. It can be argued that that’s not the point of the series, but if the point of the series is knee-jerk titillation, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 3 fails on multiple fronts. There’s nothing present for the casual viewer or even horror fan, and only gross-out completists should make an attempt to watch. Apart from a slightly interesting commentary on how to consume these films (the Mayor at first vehemently opposes Bill’s suggestion of implementing the human centipede in prisons across America for moral reasons, before rethinking and voicing his approval upon considering the effects and implications), the film is sparingly funny and much less clever than it fancies itself.
Verdict: Do Not Recommend