The Autopsy of Jane Doe may not be the type of movie one would seek out around Christmas time. However, aside from the timing of its release, I do not have much negative to say about this movie. It is creepy, eerily paced, with a great cast, and an overall intriguing premise. It is rare that I get chills during “horror” films these days, but this one gave me a few.
Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox are the two primary cast members playing Austin and Tommy Tilden, respectively, a pair of father and son coroners (this is not Doctor Who, you can probably guess which is the father and which is the son) finishing up their day when a body comes in that needs a cause of death identified immediately. Shortly before they start the autopsy of “Jane Doe” and increasing exponentially afterward, strange things start to happen in the morgue that will haunt them and others for the rest of their lives.
It is not without faults or some predicable scenes; what movie isn’t these days? A hallucination (?) leading to the untimely death of one of the few supporting cast members? Yep, they have a scene like that. But, I think I can honestly say that there are scenes in this film unlike others I have ever seen; (possible spoiler in the next sentence) there is a very creepy tattoo of sorts in a place I never expected. That and a few other scenes are cringe inducing.
The atmosphere is perfect for a horror film. It is obviously set in a morgue, but a morgue in a basement that loses power soon after the autopsy begins. The dead bodies have bells attached to them (an old tradition that is explained in the film) leading to some disturbing shots of long dark hallways with only the sound a bell moving closer. And the sound effects and music are a perfect accompaniment.
Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox are fantastic, as usual. The Autopsy of Jane Doe would easily rank highly on my personal list of favorite movies featuring them (individual lists, not a list of films that feature both of them).
Anyway, if you are in the mood for a frightful good time this holiday week/weekend, I highly recommend The Autopsy of Jane Doe.
Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday of your choosing.