“It’s just another night at the morgue for a father (Brian Cox, Trick ‘r Treat, Zodiac ) and son (Emile Hirsch, Lone Survivor, Killer Joe ) team of coroners, until an unidentified, highly unusual corpse arrives. Discovered buried in the basement of the home of a brutally murdered family, the young Jane Doe — eerily well-preserved and with no visible signs of trauma — is shrouded in mystery. As they work into the night to piece together the cause of her death, the two men begin to uncover the disturbing secrets of her life. Soon, a series of terrifying events make it clear: this Jane Doe may not be dead. The latest from Troll Hunter director André Øvredal is a scarily unpredictable, supernatural shocker that never lets up. This chiller also stars Ophelia Lovibond (Guardians Of The Galaxy ) and Michael McElhatton (Game Of Thrones ).”
Set almost entirely in the basement of a mortuary, a father and son team of coroners finish up a long day of identifying the cause of death of several corpses. Just as Austin (Emile Hirsch) is set to go out with his girlfrirend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond), the local sheriff brings in a Jane Doe and needs them to identify the cause of death right away. Worried about his father in his fragile state after the suicide of his mother, Austin decides to stay and help his father with the mysterious corpse.
Upon investigation of the body, they begin to notice strange things about it, things that don’t quite add up. Unexplained things begin to happen as well: lights flickering, radio changing stations, shadowy figures in the hallway. As they get closer to the truth of discovering her identity, the occurrences escalate into a horrifying series of events which trap them in the basement with no hope of escape. Their only option is to unlock the mystery of Jane Doe before they suffer the same fate as countless others.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a simple story, but may be one of the scariest films I’ve seen in a long time. Although the lack of wide release may suggest low budget, there is nothing low budget about this. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch give outstanding performances who literally carry the entire film by themselves. Thanks to the superb writing, there are some really great scenes between the two, including a very touching scene in an elevator as they discuss Austin’s mother. As a result of the top notch acting, the story becomes more believable and all the more horrifying.
The effects have to be mentioned as well as one of the highlights of the film; very well done, practical, showing you very chilling things and at times showing you very little. The balance between the two is done extremely well, and as you get wrapped up entirely in the story your imagination runs rampant with possibilities on just what is happening. The mystery surrounding the body entirely envelops you, which is something I find to be rather rare these days in horror films.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is exactly what a horror film should be. It doesn’t rely on cheap gimmicks or jump scares, but genuinely frightening subject matter, and clever plot devices such as the bell on the toe, which pays off brilliantly when a simple ring sends chills down our spines. The director André Øvredal has created something wholly unique, taking a simple story and elevating it to the level we get in the final product that will scare the hell out of you.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen 2.40:1. The transfer looks exceptional, with no defects noticed in the film. Colors are well balanced, with a greyish/blue tint that maintains the tone of the film well.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. This track is done very well, with a great balance between the surrounds and center channel through which you’ll hear the dialogue. Surrounds are utilized very well to create the creepy atmosphere of the film. Accompanying the film is a very good score as well, that only enhances how frightening the film truly is.
As much as I loved this film, I am very upset with the lack of special features here. I’m sure I won’t be the only one craving more knowledge when it comes to this film and story, and I would have loved to hear from the cast and crew about the experience. All you’re going to get on this set is:
- TV Spots
- Teaser Trailers
- Theatrical Trailer
The Autopsy of Jane Doe succeeds in every possible way, creating a truly frightening experience and mystery that I was left wanting to see more of. Pick this one up as soon as possible, as any horror fan will find it a refreshing addition to the genre.