Directed By: Andre Ovredal Released: March 23, 2017
Horror is one of my favorite genre’s. It can excite and scare me at the same time. But as a fan I have to slog through bad horror movies that are released every year just to make a quick buck off a shoestring budget. Every once in a blue moon, a rare horror comes along and truly surprises me. I am so happy to say that The Autopsy of Jane Doe is one such film. With a simple premise and small cast, it is able to capture the tense atmosphere big slasher flicks have failed to capture in years.
The local father-son coroner team of Tommy (Brian Cox) and Austin Tilden (Emile Hirsch) are brought a mysterious “Jane Doe” to perform an autopsy on. The sheriffs office needs the report by morning, so the two have to uncover the answers as to why she died. But the night is long and slowly the secrets start to be revealed.
That’s all there is to the premise. The run time is just under an hour and a half long, so the film has a fantastic sense of tension and pay-off. I don’t want to get into any more about what happens, for I truly believe that watching the mystery unfold is half the fun. I went in completely blind, and having done so I think you should as well. It isn’t as high thriller as most mainstream horrors, so it might not appeal to most viewers who are looking classic slashers, but has enough tension and scares to satiate my appetite for a good horror.
Since the film only has three characters (of note, not counting on and off side characters) it has to ride by the performances of its stars, and thankfully the duo presented work wonders together. Not mentioned before is Austin’s girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond), who arrives at the start to introduce us to our leads. She is curious and allows the script to introduce concepts necessary for the film. So many times you see quick characters arrive to be stupid and give us clues to the mechanics of the horror (think Scream) but I appreciate Emma being only in the film long enough to help us as the audience. It’s Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch that truly nail their performances. Of course I love Cox, the man gave us Hannibal Lector before Hopkins. I equally enjoyed Hirsch’s acting and character. Austin is not your average horror protagonist, he’s smart and analyzes situations and takes appropriate action that makes logical sense. But the two have a job to do, and the autopsy has just begun.
There isn’t much more I can say. I watched the credits roll with a smile on my face, a horror that actually made me excited for another. I didn’t watch characters make one stupid decision after another. There wasn’t a time where I got bored, and it was over in the perfect amount of time. I hope there are more films that take inspiration from this.
Have you seen The Autopsy of Jane Doe? What was the last thing you had for lunch? Tell me more in the comments below!