The Autopsy of Jane Doe
13th October 2016 9.00pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
14th October 2016 12.00pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
As if a film about an autopsy isn’t creepy enough, André Øvredal’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe takes necropsy to a completely new level. The procedure itself is the central axis of the movie, a gruesomely depicted process that reveals dark and terrifying truths – although what is discovered makes no sense logically. Jane Doe is supposed to be deceased yet she is somehow both dead and alive.
Morticians Tommy (Brian Cox) and son Austin (Emile Hirsch) run a well-established family-owned morgue in which the corpses wear the classic toe tag with a bell, traditionally used as an alert in case a body is not really dead. The introduction of this element is of course ominous. Shocking in its sheer gruesomeness, the autopsy is not for the fainthearted, but it’s what it reveals that truly horrifies, setting the stage for the chilling fright-fest that follows.
Øvredal’s direction and Roman Osin’s cinematography work beautifully to build the story and create tensions and terror. Editing is tight and meticulous and the sound successfully creates a macabre atmosphere. The strong performances of the talented Cox and Hirsh are highlights of this picture.
The film likely could have toned down the violence and bloodshed and focused more on the psychological scare factor, for which this movie carries plenty of potential. Classic elements such as a brewing storm growing ever stronger, a radio that talks to Tommy and Austin, telling them “you’re not going anywhere”, and the inevitable toe tag bell ringing, are enough to give the viewer the creeps. The suggestiveness of a dead-but-not-dead girl with clouded eyes that may be centuries old, a witch and bodies disappearing from the morgue are already fodder for the imagination.
An issue perhaps with some horror movies is that they could use more originality, subtlety and substance in dialog, plot and characters. The premise of The Autopsy of Jane Doe is original, however, in its use of the dissection of the victim’s body as the source of the storyline’s mystery and terror. Thereafter the narrative is intriguing but more in keeping with trends of the genre. It is also jump-out-of-your-skin frightening.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the 60th London Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch the trailer for The Autopsy of Jane Doe here:
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