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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe


A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.


Right off, I'm going to lay this down. This film is actually scary. As you know from the site, we're big horror fans here, but it's rare these days to see something...fresh. Something that actually causes the hairs on your arms to tingle. It's partly for the writing. The direction is excellent. The acting first class. The effects are effective. So let's begin.

Two coroners (father and son) are closing up for the night, when local sheriff Burke asks for a rush job on a body found - a death in mysterious circumstances. The father, Tommy, begins, and the son, Austin thinks about retiring for the night, but can't help but be drawn back in by the mystery. The autopsy begins in the basement of the mortuary. As far as the plot goes, I won't say too much more. This one needs to be seen fresh.

Tommy and Austin are portrayed by Brian Cox (Trick 'r Treat) and Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) - both are good actors - Cox is a powerhouse. Having an actor of his caliber in a horror movie certainly adds some gravitas. Most of the rest of the cast have little to do, playing as only side characters to the two performers. Note should be given to Doe herself, who plays her part perfectly - Olwen Catherine Kelly (Darkness on the Edge of Town).

As the plot evolves and it is apparent that there is more to this, the direction and writing shines. Director André Øvredal (Troll Hunter) works miracles with the lens given that the film is not much more than two actors on a stage. The writing is sharp and effortless.

When the film moves, it moves with pace, ramping up the tension all the way - and culminating in an exceptionally satisfying ending - one that both suits the internal logic of the film, and finishes the story - but also leaves it enough open that there can be some interpretation.

As I say initially - it is a scary movie. Watch it in the dark, and have a ball.

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