Film Review: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (2016)



THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE **** UK / USA 2016 Dir: Andre Ovredal. 88 mins

The “Jane Doe” (Olwen Kelly) in TROLL HUNTER director Ovredal’s stripped-down, intense chiller is a cadaver discovered at a multiple-murder scene with no apparent connection to the other victims. Father-son coroners Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch have the unenviable task of determining a cause of death over the course of a single, increasingly sinister night: unsettling anomalies include inexplicable internal injuries, a swallowed, extracted tooth and an estimated time of death inconsistent with her physical state.
Almost never leaving the confines of the building and largely a three hander (with Kelly somehow conveying a powerful presence without seemingly doing anything), the film cannily exploits audience discomfort at lingering forensic detail. Highly effective sound design and carefully used visceral details create an unease akin to a protracted variation of the unforgettable autopsy in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Without resorting to cliché or cheap shots (there’s a clever subversion of the usual cat scare), Ovredal conveys a growing sense of a monumental, mysterious force at work while realising that less is more: genuine chills are invoked from seemingly “small” details such as an open morgue drawer or a persistent, tinkling bell. Cox and Hirsch are both terrific, bringing an essential human core to a movie that knows how to scare its audience but never insults their intelligence.

Review by Steven West






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38 thoughts on “Film Review: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (2016)”

  1. I really love the amount of characterization they managed for Brian Cox’s character throughout the film. That personally aspect really helped me sympathize with the characters especially while they where trying to figure out what happened with the body.

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