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Movie Review

The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence

‘Human Centipede’ sequel has no legs to stand on

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By Wesley Morris
Globe Staff / October 14, 2011

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What would Tom Six like us to do with “The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence’’? His aim can’t be critical plaudits or box-office domination (last year its predecessor - “First Sequence’’ - made about $252,000 in North America). Some of us already know what he can do with one actor’s face and another actor’s derriere (affix them). The challenge of a sequel would be topping that. This time, he’s more than quadrupled the body count necessary for snout-to-tail horror. So what Six would like us to know is that he has the power to mythologize himself.

The first film’s evil German doctor was a stand-in for him: See the director torture his cast! For installment two, Six has discovered Laurence R. Harvey and built around him a carnival sideshow that seeks to aggrandize the notoriousness of its maker. Apparently, the original movie is so corruptive that, according to “Full Sequence,’’ impressionable minds will want to live out its medical adventures for their own cathartic terrors.

Harvey plays Martin, a small but extravagantly plump London garage attendant - the baby butterball of Peter Lorre and Timothy Spall. At work, he watches “The Human Centipede’’ on his laptop. He keeps a scrapbook of the film’s premiere, diagrams the movie’s surgical procedures, lures one of the actors from the first movie (Ashlynn Yennie) to writhe among his dungeon-bound victims, and, for a miserable climactic stretch, proceeds to enact the operation with predictably unwatchable results.

Six strains for psychological cause. Martin had an abusive father, he lives at home with a droopy mother who blames him for his father’s imprisonment, etc. His shrink - the Bearded Man of Six’s carnival - even picks up where the father left off. But Six trades the unblinking clinical air of the first film for obviousness, illogic, and redundancy (an actual deadly desert centipede finds an anus of its own).

“Full Sequence’’ has been shot in a crisp digital black-and-white that seems only to enhance the corporeal specificity on the soundtrack (snap, slurp, crack, crunch) and its story is a sub-surgical fusion of England’s Angry Young Man dramas and the dreary dankness of a “Saw’’ film. But, really, all Six is going for, with the generous application of both hardware supplies to the skin and feces to the camera, is a tired commentary on his shallow talents: They’re excremental.

Wesley Morris can be reached at wmorris@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @wesley_morris.

NO STARS

THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II: Full Sequence

Written and directed by: Tom Six

Starring: Laurence R. Harvey and Ashlynn Yennie

Running time: 88 minutes

Unrated (just imagine the least pleasurable things you can do to a body and then stay home)

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