'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' (2016) Review

Updated on March 26, 2018
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This film contains spoilers clearly marked at the end of the review. If you had questions about this film, I have all the answers you need.

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What's It About?

The opening scene shows some cops investigating a murder scene in a house. Everyone is dead. In the basement is a half buried pale-skinned body that doesn't seem related to the rest of the crime. The female cop comments on how there are no signs of forced entry and in fact it looks like the victims were trying to get out rather than someone trying to get in.

As this movie is set in a small town, an unidentified body constitutes it to be a top priority and so it is taken straight to the morgue to be properly seen to by coroner Tommy and his son Austin who drop everything and begin to examine 'Jane Doe.'

Nothing about this autopsy is normal from the moment they look at her eyes. The timeline of her injuries doesn't add up.

The radio reports a storm is brewing outside and Austin wants to leave, but suddenly leaving seems difficult and they discover a tree has fallen outside covering the exit and they are trapped.

Is everything that's happening a coincidence or has it got something to do with Jane Doe?

Quick Film Info

Title: 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe.'

Director: Andre Ovredal is a Norwegian film director who is well known for the movie Troll Hunter (2015) which I watched (and it has subtitles) and loved.

Writers:

  • Ian Goldberg.
  • Richard Naing.

Date of Release: For the USA, December 2016.

Genre: Supernatural Horror.

Box Office: $597 million worldwide.

Noteworthy Cast:

  • Parker Sawyers plays the officer at the end driving the ambulance and he also played the masked Mr. Lee in the movie 'Don't Hang Up,' (2016) which I wrote a review on.
  • Brian Cox played dad Tommy. He starred in the smash hit TV series Frasier (2001) and a movie I loved called Zodiac (2007.)
  • Olwen Kelly who played Jane Doe is pretty big in Ireland as both an actress and a model. However, I've not heard of her before, though I did read a comment from someone thinking she was Kirsten Stewart and I admit they look similar but it is not the same girl.

'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' - Trailer

My Thoughts On 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe'

I wanted to love this movie. It had me hooked right away with the story alluding to the mystery of Jane Doe but when her secret begins to reveal itself, the movie just spiraled out of control downwards from there. People I talk movies to kept mentioning it and it was easily accessible on Netflix, so I watched it.

The cinematography was great with images appearing in mirrors and behind semi see through barriers. The explanation of how coroners back in the day used to tie a bell around dead people in case they weren't dead and then hearing the first ring of a bell later on was - fantastic. The use of the radio to tie in pieces of the story made me immediately want to re-watch it half way through to ensure I hadn't missed a hidden message.

I kept willing it to take a different turn but it didn't defer from its course and I sat there wanting to care about the deaths that started to occur and found that I did not care and in fact was mildly irritated that certain characters were to meet their demise in such a cliche and generic way that I cringed and sighed.

I read an interview with the director and it was suggested that a lot of the writing was to show and highlight the relationship with the father and son as well as allude to the mother being attached to the family business (even though we don't see her) by way of a floral wall paper in the elevator but alas this was not enough to do it for me. Sure I could see the bond between Tommy and Austin but they were too busy running from things they couldn't really run from to make any solid progress that mattered.

The scenes that first caused me to stop and take note was when Austin discovers the supposedly well-loved cat injured and near death in an air conditioning vent. For two people who work in a morgue investigating the 'what's' of death and cluing together puzzles, neither was interested in what might of happened to it and flung it straight into the cremation furnace with only a moment to reflect on its passing. I thought sure - maybe they are desensitized to death because of their job, but surely they could have at least looked at it, especially seeing as weird things had just begun to happen. I've incuded a 'spolier section' for the first time, as I had more to say but don't want to ruin it. Plenty of people love this flick, I'm just not one of them.

I give 'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' 2.5 crappy elevator scenes out of 5.

Morgues are scary already.
Morgues are scary already. | Source

The Director did a short horror film called 'Polaroid' (2015).

Spoiler Critique. Beware Spoilers.

At the beginning of the movie I couldn't look away but as soon as they pulled that wrapped tooth from her stomach and I saw the symbols drawn on it - I thought "Oh no, please don't make her come back to life!" but unfortunately they spent the final scenes doing just that.

Having Austin's girlfriend appear dead outside the elevator cemented the films fate for me and I not only wondered why someone who works in a bookstore would traipse the halls of a morgue during a black out as Tommy and Austin sufficiently scared her earlier by allowing her to see a dead body for the first time, but the elevator door was open pretty wide, they would’ve seen her coming - dark or not.

Look I know that Jane was making it all happen but hey, his girlfriend wouldn't be mute would she? Pretty sure that the book the writers were using, full of horror cliches would have at least had her call out "hello? Anyone there?" Which she didn't and with one perfectly aimed swing - she's dead.

I even questioned why Tommy would think it a good idea to attack a dead person with their face blown off using an axe or why the inside of an elevator would be the best place to hide out, when he had already had first hand experienced an attack from an unknown force earlier.

I could glimpse a sequel watching this but after seeing the death of Austin at the end falling over a worn and broken balustrade annoyed me just as much as Tommy questioning the existence of witches and then bartering his life for his son's by speaking directly to Jane Doe moments later (to no avail mind you). It made me realize I didn't care where the witch came from or who she might terrorize next.

And the cat - come on! I know I mentioned it before but how is that not suspicious and worth a tiny bit of questioning in itself. Aren't cats friends of witches? I would have rather seen it get super powers than die for no reason.

Questions & Answers

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