I believe I have officially joined Team Ebert regarding The Human Centipede: The First Sequence. This really is an un-reviewable film. Why? It is so horribly inconsistent and so narrow in its subject matter and audience appeal that the people likely to watch it will watch it no matter what. I, sadly, am one of those people. While the film eventually produces some very effective and long-lasting suspense sequences, the first fifteen minutes of the film are the most mind-numbing and offensively stupid I have ever seen in a film. The two lead girls make every possible mistake they can in a horror film and invent some new ones. It must be seen to be believed.
Therefore, on the eve of the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations, I present to you, dear reader, this handy visual guide to every bad decision made in the first fifteen minutes of The Human Centipede: The First Sequence.
One: Get Directions from a Non-English Speaker to a Killer Rave
I know that when I travel to a non-English speaking country, my main priority is finding where the hottest local backwoods kegger/rave/disco/par-tay is. I also know that I will always insist on driving myself and not let anyone else know where I'm going.
Two: Get Invited to a Killer Rave by a Local Boy
It's an extension of stupid choice number one, but it bears repeating. The worst thing you can do in a foreign country is hook up with a random boy and let him lure you out into the backwoods of his native land at night.
Three: Take Unmarked, Unlit, Poorly Paved Back Roads
If you have to turn around in an unmarked dirt road to go the opposite direction on an unmarked and unlit back road in an unfamiliar location, it might be an idea to head back to your hotel. But no, our intrepid leads soldier on.
Four: React like this to a Flat Tire
I know when I get a flat tire, I often open my mouth wide and jerk my head forward repeatedly. It's a coping mechanism.
Five: Raise Your Cell Phone to Find Reception
When has this ever worked? If you don't have reception at five feet high, you aren't going to have it at five feet ten inches high. Why don't you climb on the roof of the car or scamper up a tree while you're at it?
Six: Never Even Consider Learning How to Change a Tire
OMG, like, who know how to change a tire nowadays? Yes, bragging and fighting about your stupidity will surely solve the problem of a flat tire. As opposed to, you know, opening the trunk and changing the tire. It's not that hard so long as you don't lose the lug nuts.
Seven: Ask Non-English Speaking Pervert for Help in English
While I appreciate this sequence for actually calling out slutty tourists for dressing like slutty tourists, it still demonstrates stupidity in many ways. One, the girls assume everyone speaks English. Two, when that fails, they just speak English slower and louder to break the language barrier. Three, they have an English/German phrasebook in the car that they don't use for a good two minutes. Four, they look up the word the pervert is saying--"fucking"--rather than how to say "help" or "phone."
Eight: Abandon Your Car at Night to Walk Down Unlit Back Road
The safest thing to do when you're lost in a foreign country at night is to abandon your car and walk along the road, right? At least they stay on the road and everything turns out well. Yup, just walk along the road straight back to the hotel and ask the front desk to call the rental car company.
Nine: Abandon the Unlit Road for the Dark Woods at Night
Really? Trouncing through the woods in skimpy clothes and high heels? They bring their purses, but not the English/German dictionary or their cell phones.
Ten: Throw a Temper Tantrum
When you throw a fit greater than a spoiled rotten child at a chocolate factory over trudging off into the woods at night, you have problems. And by problems, I mean a proclivity for stupidity.
Eleven: Run in the Rain in the Woods in High Heels
I get it. You see a light in the woods and head towards it. If Janet and Brad can walk at a leisurely place towards a creepy gothic manner in sensible shoes during a big rainstorm, you can surely choose a safer pace than sprint to get through the woods during a shower at night.
Twelve: Don't Go to the Door for Help
I know when I go up to a house for help, I try to spy on the owners and bang my fists against the windows rather than use the door. There's no way to know that it's bullet proof glass from appearance, either. These girls risk severe injury in their quest to be the stupidest horror film characters in cinematic history.
Thirteen: Don't Go to the Door Again
Because spying on a house is just as good as asking for help at the door. Who knows? The police might show up to handle the peeping Tom case before you even meet the creepy owner. Then your car can get towed and you can be barred from entering the country ever again.
Fourteen: Run on Concrete in Heels or Bare Feet
It's not like I have seen kids at camps break bones or get really bad cuts and bruises from running barefoot on soaking wet blacktops. Nope. Nor have I seen their counselors get hurt even worse for doing the same in traction-less shoes. This is one hundred percent the safest thing you can do. Besides, everyone knows if you run while it's raining you don't get wet.
Fifteen: Narrate Your Actions at the Door
It's so nice that the screenwriter suddenly cares about making sure the audience knows what's happening. I know I was clueless that the loud doorbell ringing sound was one of the girls ringing the doorbell while the other one knocked on glass again. I just thought a jackhammer was playing a cello.
Sixteen: Talk Really Loud and Really Slow in English While Asking For Help, Again
Forget about Esperanto. If you want to communicate with anyone in the world, treat them like a hard of hearing child. They will undoubtedly understand everything you say and not be tempted to perform horrible experimental surgery on you.
Seventeen: Mime Talking on the Phone
Everyone knows that a pinky to your mouth and a thumb to your ear is the international sign for "I need to use your phone." To be fair, I'm including this because it's one of my pet peeves. They are, however, TAAALLLKIIIING LIIIIIKE THIIISSSS, so the stupidity is still rampant.
Eighteen: Tell the Stranger that No One Knows Where You Are
If there is a positive in this exchange, it's that our young heroines stop TAAALLKIIING LIIIIKE THIIISSSS to simply say "no" when asked if anyone knows where they are. The creepy skeletal man in pajamas who lives in the middle of the woods speaks English, so they can trust him with all their life secrets.
While there is one more stupid choice (walking into this guy's house), the film actually kicks into some decent suspense here. The characters start acting in realistic ways and the surgical imagery picks up. If the film had a different opening that made the audience care about the characters at all, it would be a very good thriller. Unfortunately, it suffers from this opening stretch. Believe me, if you want to watch this, you can safely skip ahead to the 15 minute mark and not miss a thing. You just need to know the husky trucker was brought in with a tranquilizer dart before the slutty tourists.