The most fucked up game of Operation ever!
A father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch), both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman.
From the imaginative mind who delivered found footage gem Trollhunter, Andre Ovredal follows up by debuting his first English language feature, The Autopsy of Jane Doe. I’m not gonna lie, I was in no rush to see this film, I saw the word ‘autopsy’ and straight away red flags come up… I was expecting an excessive use of blood, guts and deplorable body horror used as a cheap scare tactic and instead I could not be more wrong. Without a doubt if I had watched this last year it would have appeared in my top five of 2016.
From the beginning Jane Doe oozes with creepiness, the goose bump raising kind of creepiness. The overall atmosphere is chilling and intense, provided by the rich stylized colour palette of dark and dense tones that authentically make everything look murky and dim. But, there is almost a sense of elegance and gracefulness to this masterful morgue mystery. The tension never breaks, the pacing is tight and smooth and enticingly uncomfortable.
It’s always refreshing to watch a horror movie with smart characters, the ones that realistically try to get the fuck outta there once things start to go bump in the night.
The dynamic between Hirsch and Cox is solid, there is a strong rapport and they are instantly believable as father and son. We watch them bicker and bond and act in such veracity, both these characters are filled with such soul. A lesser actor would have fumbled with the script, but both leading men offer such stellar performances. The lifeless Jane Doe, Olwen Catherine Kelly will even command your attention with her blank stare that questionably grows a touch more evil every time Ovredal cuts back to her.
The actual autopsy (cause yes, spoiler alert there is one) is depicted in such crazy detail and incredibly gruesome, but never does it feel gratuitous.
This isn’t a film to pass, its an absolutely chilling clever thriller, if the grisly snap of bones or tinkling of a bell doesn’t frighten you, the explicit but not exploitative body horror will surely make your stomach drop.
9.0 / 10
“Let get the fuck out of here”