The Autopsy of Jane Doe Review

Synopsis: A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.

Tagline: Every body has a secret.

Release Date: December 21st, 2016 | MPAA Rating: R | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond

The Autopsy of Jane Doe official trailer.


The Autopsy of Jane Doe Review


The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a great movie that fell just short of being fantastic. The pacing was great, the dialogue was believable, and the movie was very well shot. It was one of the best horror films we’ve seen in a while. (I almost wrote this year, but then realized we watched it on January 1st, so…) It went against the grain several times, never actually showed me the one thing I was expecting to see, and didn’t feel ridiculously long.

Building tension is something that director André Øvredal apparently excels at. I’ve only seen one other film from him (Trollhunter) and while I remember enjoying it, nothing about it stuck with me.  The Autopsy of Jane Doe will stick with me for a quite a while. We watched it at home, with the lights off, and I found myself gradually curling up in a ball on the couch. There are so many shots that are so typical of jump-scare flicks in this. However, the great thing is that they hardly ever went for the scare. Instead they just slowly spun out the story until you were completely invested in what you were watching. I figured out what was going on ridiculously early in the film, but it didn’t lessen my enjoyment at all. 

Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch did a great job as the father/son coroner team. I loved the way the characters were written, and acted. Again, deviating from the typical (breath of fresh air!), these parts were never over-acted. The Tildens acted like they had common sense. They never gave into hysterics, and for the most part kept their heads in an admirable fashion. Which is why every time they did do something ‘expected’, my partner and I both yelled at them.  Yes, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a movie that invests you to the point you can’t help but yell at the screen.  Especially the scene with the fire. That was a very “That was not bright!!” moment.

What made it fall just short of being fantastic was the cheerful music. I think it’s really the only misstep they made in The Autopsy of Jane Doe.  Cheerful music turning into a creepy sign of something coming is sigh-inducing at this point. The various scenes this occurred in would have been perfectly fine without it. It added nothing to the movie at all. In fact, the silence might have made the tension ratchet it up even more. Instead, it kind of cheapened the movie.

Overall, The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a solidly creepy way to spend 86 minutes. Definitely check it out if you’re a horror movie fan.

4 Star Rated The Autopsy of Jane Doe Film Review