Monday, March 13, 2017

Movie Review: "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" (2016)

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Movie"The Autopsy of Jane Doe"
Director: André Øvredal
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

When an unidentified dead woman with no trauma is discovered at a gruesome murder scene, police take her to the local morgue for an autopsy. As the morticians begin their autopsy, strange things start occurring.

"The Autopsy of Jane Doe" is directed by André Øvredal, who is best known for his film "Trollhunter." It stars Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as father and son morticians Tommy and Austin Tilden. The film opens at the scene of a graphic, gruesome multiple homicide with little to no introduction. The one oddity there is an unidentified dead woman halfway buried in the basement who has no visible signs of trauma. This mysterious Jane Doe is taken to the morgue where Tommy and Austin commence an autopsy on her and start to see things they've never seen before and experience things they cannot explain. The further they dig into the case of this unidentified woman, more and more strange things begin happen.

This is an interesting horror film that starts off on the scientific side and segues into the supernatural as unexplained occurrences begin to happen with no explanation. It maintains this creepy air about it for most of its run time. Most of the unsettling aspects come from the visuals and sounds of the autopsy itself. Bones crack and crunch, things are extracted from many orifices in this rather disgusting cadaver, the body's internal organs are examined in graphic detail, etc. This process feels long and laborious (in a good way) and it looks extremely cool, but may not be for the squeamish. The makeup and effects team behind the scenes did a stellar job putting the corpse together inside and out to look as accurate as possible. It's all very grotesque to say the least, and this crafting job lends to the authenticity of how the surgical components really look. Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox give very convincing performances as this father and son duo trying their best to figure out what the hell happened to the dead woman in front of them. Side note: we think Hirsch should be a bigger star and should be in more movies, so take note, Hollywood.

That being said, there are times when "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" falls into standard horror movie tropes, like when cheap jump scares occur that are really caused by an animal, or when someone is playing a practical joke on another person at the worst opportune time. There are some contrivances as well where things happen simply because they are convenient to the plot, explained only by the fact that it's part supernatural mystery. Though this is still a very engaging film, as we remained compelled throughout the autopsy portion of it, once the mystery is unraveled, it loses a little bit of steam and luster when all is revealed. When we find out how this strange woman died, the payoff is a bit underwhelming and may even be deemed predictable by some. It is definitely flawed in some aspects, but this movie is still entertaining enough that it's worth watching if you're a fan of the horror genre.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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