The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

autopsy of jane doe poster 2016 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Good looking, good cast

Movie loses steam instead of gaining it in the middle

Movie Info

Movie Name: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Studio: 42

Genre(s): Horror

Release Date(s):  September 9, 2016 (Toronto International Film Festival)/December 21, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

autopsy of jane doe olwen catherine kelly body

What’s she hiding?

Mortician Tommy (Brian Cox) and his assistant and son Austin (Emile Hirsh) find a mystery on their hands when the body of a young woman (Olwen Catherine Kelly) is brought in to their small family-run mortuary after being discovered in a basement.  As the autopsy begins, a storm rolls in and strange things begin to happen…and the horror that is unleashed might be unstoppable.

Directed by André Øvredal, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a horror thriller.  The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was later received a limited theatrical release and online streaming.

André Øvredal decided he wanted to do a horror film after seeing The Conjuring The Conjuring was a nice blend of classic horror jumps, supernatural mystery, and creepy ghosts.  The Autopsy of Jane Doe has a similar feel and somewhat similar problems.

autopsy of jane doe brian cox emile hirsch

So…is this normal?

The story starts out with a nice mystery.  Who is the woman and how did she get into the basement?  As the characters begin the autopsy they find obvious (aka cliché) evidence of witchcraft within the corpse…runes, strange herbs, and outright weird injuries.  While I wouldn’t expect a person to jump to “witchcraft”, it seems like the belief that others might believe in witchcraft and actively practice it on a young woman should be a concept that would be open to characters.  Just the woman’s discovery appears like witchcraft or cult activity, but it isn’t considered until the end of the film.  The film ends in a classic “twist” ending and that seems completely predictable.

The cast is quite good.  Brian Cox took over for Martin Sheen, and he shows a lot of compassion and heart in the story.  Emile Hirsch likewise is strong as the son who is roped into following in his family’s footsteps.  I really have to commend the actress Olwen Catherine Kelly who has the difficulty of laying on a table naked and being prodded and poked for the course of the movie.

autopsy of jane doe brian cox olwen catherine kelly

It is leading to an unsatisfying ending!

The movie looks good.  It is dark and atmospheric, but it also has moments where stuff happens and you can’t see what is going on (like Brian Cox being beaten up multiple times).  The movie obviously was working with a lower budget and hoping to build atmosphere but the slowdown in the mid-plot doesn’t help the atmosphere.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe has its moments but goes beyond feeling “classic” to feeling a bit trite at points.  It feels like the movie’s story needed to be slightly finessed, and the tone needed to be worked on to give it the ending it deserves and builds to.  The movie is strong enough that if you are a fan of horror and looking for something different, The Autopsy of Jane Doe will provide it…but it might not wow you.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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