THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is a 2016 horror film directed by André Øvredal, known for his work on THE TROLL HUNTER and SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK. This movie is an intriguing and atmospheric take on the horror genre, blending elements of a procedural mystery with supernatural terror.
The film begins with a gruesome crime scene in a suburban home, where a seemingly pristine and lifeless young woman’s body is found half-buried in the basement. The mysterious corpse is delivered to the Tilden family’s morgue, a small-town mortician and his son, who must perform an autopsy to determine the cause of death. As they delve deeper into their examination, the two discover increasingly disturbing and inexplicable anomalies within the body of the woman, known as Jane Doe. As night falls and a storm rages outside, the two men find themselves trapped in the morgue, facing a nightmarish ordeal that transcends the boundaries of medical science and logic.
One of the standout aspects of the film is its atmosphere. The majority of the movie takes place in the claustrophobic, dimly lit morgue, which sets the perfect stage for a horror film. The cold, sterile environment creates a sense of dread and unease, and the tension is heightened by the storm outside, making it impossible for the characters to leave.
The characters, primarily the father and son coroners played by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, are well-drawn and believable. The film takes its time to establish their relationship, showing the strained but loving bond between them. This emotional connection with the characters adds depth to the horror elements as their fear and determination become palpable.
As the autopsy of Jane Doe progresses, the film becomes a thrilling mystery. Each layer of the corpse reveals new, unsettling secrets that defy scientific explanation. This gradual uncovering of her secrets keeps the audience engaged and on edge throughout the film. The movie cleverly presents several potential explanations for the supernatural occurrences, creating an intriguing and suspenseful narrative.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE balances psychological horror with jump scares and gore. The use of practical effects adds to the realism and visceral impact of the gruesome discoveries made during the autopsy. The supernatural elements are eerie and genuinely unsettling, with an aura of mystery that leaves viewers with lingering questions.
The film’s sound design is effectively eerie, making great use of silence and sudden, unsettling noises to create tension. The score, composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, complements the atmosphere and helps build the sense of dread throughout the movie.
The film maintains a relatively brisk pace, which keeps the audience engaged. It’s a short and intense experience, running just under 90 minutes, and the unfolding mystery and escalating horror elements maintain the tension effectively.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is a unique and well-crafted horror film that successfully combines elements of supernatural horror and mystery with a compelling character-driven narrative. It’s a chilling and atmospheric experience that keeps viewers on edge from start to finish. The film’s claustrophobic setting, strong performances, and the gradual revelation of its mysteries make it a standout entry in the horror genre, providing a refreshing and memorable take on the genre.