Centipede! (2004)

Centipede! (2004)

100 ways to die

A group of friends head into a remote cave network in India for a weekend of adventure and fun. However they don’t realise that the caves are home to oversized, flesh-eating centipedes, mutated from a hidden underground storage of toxic waste! A cave in makes their problems worse as they now have to head further into the cave system in order to find an exit.

 

Pre-dating similar monster-in-a-cave films such as The Descent, The Cave and Caved-In: Prehistoric Terror, Centipede! at least has the distinction of being slightly ahead of the game. However I must re-iterate the fact that, yes the title is correct – the film does feature KILLER CENTIPEDES as its monsters! Cue the manic laughter from the dozens of people who would even consider watching this. Killer centipedes! I think I’ve heard it all now. Rats I can understand. Dogs at a push. Slugs I can take with some alcohol. But centipedes! Excuse me whilst I go and dry my eyes.

Now that I’ve calmed down a little bit, it’s time to examine the film. Is it as bad as it sounds? Yes. Even the cheesiest and most annoying monster-in-a-cave films like Caved In: Prehistoric Terror have one thing going for them – at least they’re well-paced. Centipede! takes an eternity to get going after the inevitable opening death. And I mean an eternity. There are plenty of boneheaded characters introduced at the start of the film including a borderline racist Indian guide who wears rags and takes them underground. They explore a bit. And a bit more. Then they party. Just when things are looking up and the cave-in happens thanks to a centipede attack, it takes ages for the centipedes to actually start strutting their stuff once again.

Pacing is a definite problem here and once you’ve lost the audience to boredom, it takes a hell of a lot to get them back. Centipede! doesn’t manage to even get you curious after you’ve lost your original interest. It’s just formulaic genre stuff but without a tad bit of entertainment. The attack scenes are filmed without any real urgency or violence (I don’t know whether it was cut or whether it was just filmed this way). The characters seem to casually walk from tunnel to tunnel and not really change their expressions despite their dwindling numbers. Even the centipedes look disinterested at times when they have the opportunity to finish someone off.

I must admit the centipedes do look pretty cool even if they can’t move anyway except up and down. They are models but they’ve been made to look gigantic compared to the cast, with plenty of razor-sharp teeth and a definite slimy structure to their bodies. They’re still as fragile as the small versions and they’ve got an uncanny habit of popping out from the smallest of holes. In fact in one scene, a centipede swims and grabs someone from under the water.

Speaking of which, this cave system is one of the most convenient places for these bugs to run around. I mean there are plenty of pools, underground tunnels, big caverns and lots and lots of light to illuminate the place up so they can see their victims. At least The Descent won top marks for scrimping on the light – after all, this is supposed to be set under the ground so where is all of the light coming from? I guess it’s the same mysterious place that the cast came from. I lost track of who was who, except for Margaret Cash who looked a little like Lara Croft in her tight top and climbing equipment. The Indian police characters look to have been hired from the local village, such is their terrible acting.

 

I was a fool to think a film about a killer centipede was ever going to be anything but a total suck-fest. Centipede! proves the age old argument right that you can judge a book by it’s cover…in this case a really, really bad monster flick.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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