Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

The ultimate murdered-mystery comes in the form of IFC Midnight’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a generous helping of realistic gore, suspense, and a corpse worth being wary of.

Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch star as a father and son business of coroners/medical examiners/crematory operators who are given their oddest cadaver yet; a Jane Doe with a seemingly evasive cause of death. However, once the autopsy undertakes, odd barely does their findings justice; the words impossible and unnerving are better suited. The further the investigation plunges, the more the two men realize they’ve made a mistake in accepting this case.

The majority of The Autopsy of Jane is genuinely entertaining; but I could do without the son’s side story of needing to branch away from the family business and the certain, unspoken expectations his father has of him. The moments of suspense were well played and well written. I’ll admit now I had to look away gleefully once or twice while the heavy silence consumed the ticking clock. The foreshadowing was a bit obvious though; to the point where it felt like a red flag should be waving in front of the camera. Nonetheless, those bits that were foreshadowed were no less frightening.

The autopsy itself was enjoyable to watch. The cinematography and quality of the special effects made you feel a part of the crew, and that you too were trying to solve this girl’s death. I wouldn’t say it’s terribly gory but the Foley artist had a hay day with this one.

The last minutes of the film didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t understand the mystery’s “clause” or rules so to speak, and that made the ending seem nonsensical and the events leading up to it semi-pointless. Once the guys discover the cause of death, it really dawned on me how intelligent these two had to be and how quickly they pulled everything together into a cohesive story. It also dawned on me that this was rushed and potentially bad writing. The twist was a bit surprising if you weren’t paying attention or if you’re not attuned to the weirder things in life. It’s best to just be a scared, naive audience member. You’ll enjoy this a lot more. Don’t be a dick and spoil this for others either; it’s a nice feeling to be surprised every once and a while.

I do recommend this one, as it’s not your typical Friday night popcorn flick and it’s not your typical IFC distributed film. And if Brian Cox is saying “fuck this” in any movie, it’s totally worth it.

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