'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' Explained + Trailer

Updated on September 15, 2019
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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.


Is The Autopsy of Jane Doe a True Story?

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is not a true story. It's a supernatural fiction film directed by André Øvredal.

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.

Coroner Tommy and his son Austin 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. Suddenly he discovers he can't.

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.


  • 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.

Is Jane Doe Scary and How was the Film Overall?

Even if you aren't a fan of this film, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is creepy. The camera switches from a normal view to almost POV type close-ups when the body is being examined. The radio flicking on and off, the storm, the apparitions all make this a decent spooky story and one which will cause many to keep a light on.

The film itself hooked me in the first half. The story allows the mystery of Jane Doe and her secret to reveal themselves over the course of the film.

The aesthetic throughout is fantastic with images appearing in mirrors and behind semi see-through barriers. Subtext about coroners back in the day tieing a bell onto the dead in case they woke up set up the scare for later on. The use of the radio to tie in pieces of the story creates you to pay this film your full attention.

The deaths were cliche and the generic way they were orchestrated was a massive let down. I cringed and sighed.

I did get a great sense of the bond between Tommy and Austin and the ease in which they went about their investigation backed this up well.

I did have issues with Austin and the cat. Both Tommy and he loved their pet and you've For two people who work in a morgue investigating the 'what's' of death and cluing together puzzles, neither was interested in what might have happened to it and flung it straight into the cremation furnace. They only took a moment to reflect on its passing. Do cats die in airconditioning vents a lot?

Overall, the film is solid and has a lot to offer, but it could have been better.

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

'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' - Trailer

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

What Happened to Jane Doe'

I concluded that Jane Doe was brutally tortured when those accused of witchcraft did so as a reaction to the mass hysteria centuries ago. This particular ritual resulted in Jane becoming an actual witch.

Jane is from the 17th Century, New England. Coroners notes include the following injuries and evidence:

  • A rear tooth is missing and subsequently found inside her stomach,
  • Fractured wrists,
  • Broken ankles,
  • Tongue removed,
  • Fabric in her throat,
  • Vaginal trauma,
  • Cinched waist,
  • Black lungs,
  • Cuts to the heart, organs, and tissue.
  • Blackhedge in her stomach which is a paralyzing agent.

She was bound and then her tongue was ripped out. Jane Doe was poisoned and forced to swallow a shroud. After this, she was stabbed and burned.

Spoiler Summary for The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Jane Doe is slowly coming back to life over the course of the film. Tommy and Austin's removal of safety guards put into her in the first place cease only speed up the process for her.

Each time she kills someone, more of her comes back to life. By the end of the film, she is able to move a toe. This proves that she will need to knock off a few more people to fully get going. When Jane is torturing Tommy, more and more of her injuries begin to heal.

The songs which play intermittently on the radio act as a warning to Tommy and Austin. If you listen to what's being said the lyrics and radio announcer consistently warn to not get caught in the storm. The storm is Jane Doe.

Tommy questions the existence of witches but later bartering his life for his son's by speaking directly to Jane Doe moments later. It didn't take him long to make up his mind about the legitimacy of what was happening.

Jane Doe is responsible for all the things that happen within the coroners building. From the noises, radio, lights, and the storm outside it's as though she is biding her time and gathering her strength. She can create these things but can't move around yet. In the final scene, the radio announces that it's been four days of great weather proving the storm was really an illusion.

Questions & Answers

© 2017 Mother of Movies and Series Reviews


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