McKenzie Morrell, Staff Writer:
Just when I thought nothing could get more disturbing than “The Human Centipede,” I stumble upon “The Clinic.” While traveling across country with her fiancé, a pregnant woman named Beth wakes up in a bathtub full of ice, alone in an isolated clinic with her baby ripped out of her stomach, nowhere to be found.
Now if you want things to jump out at you and constant gore, “The Clinic” isn’t the movie for you. There are some parts where you jump and go “oh sh**,” not to mention I found out it’s based on true events which is frightening in itself. But the fact remains it’s not nearly as graphic or mind boggling as the “Saw” movies. I’m pretty sure if a watered-downed version of “Saw and The Human Centipede had babies you’d probably get The Clinic. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, for people who don’t like movies as intense as those. Honestly, the emotionally disturbing things these women have to go through while in the clinic is something I’ve never seen before in a film. Yes, I said women… six to be exact; all fighting for their lives and some for their babies in this unique story.
At first I questioned the slow pace of the movie and why the characters weren’t more alert to the cliché “staying at a crappy motel in a creepy town while on a road trip where something’s bound to go wrong” synopsis. But then remembered the film is set in 1979 where the characters haven’t been exposed to the millions and millions of horror films that plague our society today. I’m actually glad it was set in 1979, that way I don’t have to sit through another film where the main character has “no signal” on their cell phone… I mean come on, there’s like nowhere you don’t have cell reception these days unless you’re an AT&T customer. Ha-Ha. Anyways, here’s my spoiler alert: Due to the fact that most Americans probably haven’t heard about this film, since it started its life in the International Film Festival circuit. I’ve decided to give you a detailed overview of the movie seeing as I watched it online, am not quite sure when the US version will be released, and them international folk sure know how to make one of a kind movies.
Here we go: The beginning was cliché as I said, I mean… creepy motel manager, sleeping pregnant fiancé, husband goes out to find food in the middle of the night only to come back to a missing woman. Seen similar stories, bored with it. The main character had these odd dreams at the beginning about a blood river, and a baby laying on some roman numerals… foreshadowing? Definitely. At first the plot is confusing, I wanted to know why these people took these women, why they gave them c-sections without their consent and more importantly what did they want with the babies. Or better yet, why weren’t the mothers dead? You would think that they’d let them bleed out after they got what they wanted, no such luck.
After Beth woke up in the tub, put on a hideous jumpsuit and tried to escape she came across three other women wearing the same attire but with different roman numerals on them. Did I mention roman numerals again? Why yes I did. The jumpsuits had a bloodstain in the belly area where they were stitched up after their babies were removed. Those four women banded together to find their babies and find a way out of the maze like clinic. Miraculously they stumbled into a room, where six babies lay locked up. But seeing as the mothers were sedated during the delivery they didn’t know which baby was their own. Then one by one the mothers were murdered, someone hunting them like cattle, ripping their stitches out and leaving them to bleed to death. I struggled to find out why, and who. A monster? Ordinary person? Baby-eating pterodactyl? Seriously… it crossed my mind. Nope, it turns out the person offing the mothers was in fact one of the six women brought to the clinic.
Meanwhile Beth’s fiancé is trying to find her, only to be arrested. Once he overthrows the cop, he beats information out of the motel manager who tells him where the clinic is.
Back at the clinic we soon learn that these six women aren’t the first, the roman numerals are in the 600’s meaning that’s how many woman have come through the clinic. Which seems like a lot, I mean wouldn’t someone notice that many missing pregnant women over the years? I guess not. We also learn that each baby had a tag on them; a color. When the first mother was killed she said her baby was blue, the others didn’t know what she meant until they put two and two together after seeing the babies and their color tags. Inside each of their incisions was a tag that matched their babies. The only way for them to find out would be to rip them out of themselves. The deranged mother hunting down the rest figured if she killed them all and collected their tags she’d find out which baby was hers without risking bleeding to death. Smart, yes. Sick, of course. Does she succeed? Almost.
The four women die at the hand of the crazy mom, luckily Beth is able to stab her and she dies… All that is left is Beth.
Throughout the whole movie the women in the clinic are being watched by a man and a woman. I just figured they were the people overseeing the operation. Boy was I wrong. Here comes the twist. Beth is knocked unconscious and awakens. She is chained to the floor watching a woman sell her baby to the two people who watched them all fight for their lives. Oh snap! The whole thing was a game, to see which mother was the strongest so that the new parents knew they were getting a good baby from a good bloodline. Things like DNA testing didn’t exist then, so naturally if a woman could survive this catastrophic event they must produce a good baby. But wait, the best twist has yet to come. Right when the man buying Beth’s baby is about to shoot her she’s rescued by a mentally unstable man named Duncan, who happens to be Ms Shepard’s son. Ms. Shepard is the one behind the whole operation and tries to convince her son it’s all a game. He believes Beth over his crazy mother and shoots the perspective parents’ as Beth is able to get free.
Yes that’s a mouthful but wait there’s more. By some odd chance Ms. Shepard recognizes Beth’s surname and reveals to her that she knows who she is. That 29 years ago Beth’s parents had come to the very same place, watched mothers duke it out and bought her. Double oh snap! The man who Beth thought to be her father killed her biological mother since he had a criminal record and wasn’t able to adopt children.
After some slow, yet witty banter between the two, Beth kills Ms. Shepard. She gets out of that hellhole with her baby only to find out her fiancé is dead from a car crash outside the clinic trying to save her. Damn barbed wire.
It’s a lot of details to soak up, but nonetheless unique. I’m not sure what happened to the other babies, something to ponder I guess. I would definitely recommend this film to my thrill-seeking friends. The acting, special effects and music were quite good despite the slow pace and rear heavy twist.