Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Chilling Vivisection - The Autopsy of Jane Doe

The only thing I knew about The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) going in was that in involved an autopsy (obviously), and that it was directed by André Ørvedal, the director of Troll Hunter (2010), which is one of the few found-footage films that actually blew me away.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a tight, nearly perfect horror, and the best scare I've had in a while. It features a father and son team of medical examiners pressured to complete an autopsy before the night is out, after an already long day.  The problem is, that the body is pristine-no bullet wounds, no stab marks, no physical aberrations of any kind. But she was found half-buried at the scene of a quadruple family murder. So how did she die?

The things the Tilden boys reveal about the girl, peeling away layer after layer of her body, are simply impossible. From a production standpoint, the pacing and the props are just brilliant. The very visceral horror of the autopsy was dramatic and well-shot, and complemented perfectly the sinister, psychological horror lurking just beneath the surface. And all the close-ups of the actress's face were beautifully creepy. I never got tired of it, because I never knew exactly what to expect.


My one critique is that, towards the end of the film, we're given an theory of the body's origins, and the meaning behind all the unimaginable things they've found. The explanation was too complete for my taste, too neat and tidy. I didn't need all that-some, maybe, fine. But I prefer more mystery in my mysteries. This only detracted from the plot for a very small fraction of time, so it did not affect the overall experience.


I love Brian Cox - he's so versatile!

And then, all hell breaks loose. And the chaos that happens after is a wonderful blend of outright carnage and terrifying atmosphere. To execute both horror and terror simultaneously is not an easy task, but the film uses a deft hand to deliver both in hefty doses. The result was a supremely satisfying experience, which lit up more than one of my brain's horror-loving zones.

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