Director: Tom Six
Studios: Six Entertainment
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Tagline: Their Flesh is His Fantasy
MPAA Rating: R
Genre: foreign film, horror, thriller, body horror, mad scientist, torture, tourists
Scare score: B-
Plot overview: After their rental car blows a flat tire in Germany during their European vacation, best friends and girly New Yorkers Lindsay (Williams) and Jenny (Yennie) seek shelter in an isolated house. As their dream vacation quickly turns into their worst nightmare, both girls are drugged and captured by the owner of the house, the misanthropic Dr. Heiter (Laser), a renown surgeon specializing in the separation of Siamese twins. Now hoping to perfect a reverse surgery, the two girls and a third victim (Kitamura) become the living pieces of the sick doctor's new pet.
I know there was tons of talk and shock etc. when this movie came out a few years back, but it never really piqued my interest. To be honest it sounded to me like the film took a wild, gross plot (rumor even had it that Six though such an operation would be possible) and went really mainstream with it, resulting in a sell-out that I didn't end up hearing too much about afterward. Well I don't know if all of that is even true, but I have to say that I finally got around to seeing this the other night and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was honestly surprised that this wasn't a low-budget gore fest. I thought this movie had a pretty decent story behind it, with the vacation-gone-wrong theme that scared us so much in Hostel or Turistas. I specifically appreciate horror based on tourists being kidnapped/ tortured because it is a very practical fear that I think most people (or their mothers) can relate to after stepping out of their homes or off of a plane. While the whole co-joining of people was something new to me, it came as no surprise that it was done so clearly as a continuation, of sorts, of Nazi experimentations. Like, the story is about a German doctor - no shocker there that he is portrayed in long, clean lab coats; tall, shiny boots; a modern and extremely clean house where he can conduct his crazed experiments on live specimens. To me, this was just another joust from the Dutch in their endless game of how they can still insult Germans by calling them Nazis. Gotta love Europeans.
Dieter Laser was such a weirdo in this movie and I loved it. From the first scene when the girls arrive at his house and he looks outside with those creepy eyes, or when he bluntly tells them "I don't like human beings." Ugh that was so good. Big applause to his freak out scene later in the movie as the cops get on his trail and he begins to realize he may not be getting away with all his crimes. I read that he stayed in character at all times while on set, which would have made filming this with him even more uncomfortable.
Speaking of filming... what was that like for Williams, Yennie, and Kitamura? Like imagine you're an aspiring actor or actress and you land a lead in this film and then they're like "Ohh yaa the only catch is that after the first third of the movie where you scream and cry a lot, in the last two-thirds of the movie you're on your knees with your mouth against so-and-so's butt. K see you on set byee!" I want to go find interviews with these people to learn how weird that must have been.
I liked our three victims. I was almost surprised in the first few scenes of the movie when the girls are getting ready for their night out that they didn't come across as the typical immature, annoying, all around bad actresses that we are so used to in modern horror. Especially Williams struck me as a mature, serious actress... I mean yeah, that changed later on when their acting was reduced to crying, screaming, and then crawling around, but props to them anyway for those first few scenes. Kitamura pretty much cracked me up the entire time. I really wasn't expecting some random Japanese guy in the film, but I loved how vocal he was and I thought the Japanese language was beautiful even though it was distressed and probably vulgar most of the time. But what a character, with some interesting dialogue to boot.
The cinematography, namely the exterior shots of the house (and the interior, too) impressed me. It was nice to see some thought put into what I was expecting to be a sell-out blood bath. Honestly, the good filming combined with the several *almost* escapes plus the amount of time it even took for the whole centipede bit to begin really surprised me; together they really gave a thought-out movie feeling to this film, and I spent my night pretty delighted to be watching a fun and often funny movie (it had me laughing quite a bit).
Final critique: This movie certainly wasn't what I was expecting it to be. I know now that I'll be recommending this to people, although it certainly is not for everyone (just mention the basic plot to most people and you risk them vomiting on your shoes). To be perfectly honest, however, I thought that the movie stayed on the polite side of things, and I found myself wanting more gore, more excrement, and maybe less tears (does that make me weird?) Well I guess my next step would be checking out the sequel, which I've heard makes up for the blood etc that this first one leaves out, but after reading the synopsis I don't know that I can handle it! Stay tuned, my pets.