Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Starring: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch and Ophelia Lovibond

Directed by: Andre Ovredal

A father and son team of coroners receive an unidentified body with no apparent cause of death. Together they must find the cause of death and try and identify who the “Jane Doe” is but as they begin their work they discover the body holds some bizarre and terrifying secrets.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe was listed under Netflix’s “critically acclaimed” category and you don’t get many horror movies that do well with film critics, especially modern horror movies which are mostly forgettable nonsense. Combine that with the addition of Brian Cox as the lead actor and it was hard not to give this movie a chance.

Brian Cox stars with Emile Hirsch, who has done extremely well at putting together a rather impressive resume over the years and this movie only adds to his repertoire. The actors mentioned play father and son and are both coroners and one evening as they are leaving for the day the sheriff brings in a Jane Doe and a rather mysterious one at that. She has no clear cause of death and no visible marks on her body to give the coroners any kind of inkling either. As they dive into the autopsy they begin to notice unusual circumstances which might give an indication of how she died despite not showing any visible signs of the proposed cause of death on the outside. The longer the autopsy carries on the mystery continues with a strange aura that takes over the morgue leaving the father and son team left to fend for themselves against an unexplained force.

Both actors were great to watch, especially in the first half of the movie which focused more on the autopsy of this mystery woman. As the movie went along however and the mystery of the story turned into horror the performances did decline slightly as there wasn’t enough of a realistic reaction to the mysterious events that they found themselves witnessing. The music was incredibly eerie and really helped towards the build up of tension and gave the latter stages of the movie a truly frightening feel. The Autopsy of Jane Doe was very well constructed and the camera work was very good for a horror movie which is usually an area which horror movies lack on the technical side of things. The best scene of the entire movie was when both coroners (Tommy and Austin) were frantically trying to escape their predicament and the only noise you could hear coming down the dark hallway was that of a bell attached to one of their cadavers. The more they struggled, the closer the sound of the bell got and it was truly a masterful way to amp up the fear and tension without having to use a jump scare.

My main criticism of this movie is mainly regarding the final third of the movie. While the autopsy was happening there was a lot of intrigue and mystery surrounding the story as the audience literally has no clue where the story is headed. Unfortunately once the horror angle is revealed and there’s a supernatural force that gets added to the equation the story loses quite a bit of its momentum. While the movie is full of suspense the intrigue and mystery is lost and takes a massive step back as the lead actors fumble around in the dark in a blind panic not knowing what to do or how to combat the unexplainable events.

In conclusion, The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a very good watch which was genuinely frightening and had good performances from its two lead actors. It’s definitely deserving of of the praise it has received since it’s release and is one of the better modern day horror that I’ve seen.


3 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

  1. You liked it a bit more than I did. I find the moment a movie that has thus far been a good mystery turns supernatural, I stop caring. I felt that way about Stranger Things as the series progressed.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love supernatural mysteries, when they try to figure out what’s happening. When they just start accepting really weird stuff going down, I disconnect. I loved Mothman Prophecies because Richard Gere wouldn’t stop trying to find a plausable explanation of what was happening. Once the mystery turns into “Oh, OK, we’ll just accept the hole in the wall leads us to a new dimension” it becomes Being John Malkovich.


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