OSW Review | IFI Horrorthon 2016: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

IFI Horrorthon 2016: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Helloooooo! Another year of Horrorthon has come and gone, and I managed to catch 6 films over the weekend (in between editing Superbrawl!). Every day I’ll upload a new review!

Cast/Crew: Directed by André Øvredal (Norwegian; Troll Hunter), Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as Austin and Tommy Tilden.

Plot: A coroner and son perform an autopsy on a strange corpse.

Thoughts on the film:
• This is called a “two-hander”, where the film is basically two people for the entire time. I can’t count the cadaver as a cast member! Other people show up very rarely.
• If you’re wondering what’s the difference between corpse and cadaver, a corpse is the general term for dead body, and cadaver is medical jargon for a corpse that’ll be used for a medical/scientific purpose, like an autopsy.
• It’s late in the evening, and an uncharacteristically aloof sheriff wheels in a dead body, needing a cause of death by the morning (so he has something to tell the press).
• The film is a full-on autopsy (what it says on the tin!) where they uncover odd things, like her ankles & wrists being shattered despite her corpse being perfect on the outside. When they cut into her, she starts bleeding a little (something that only happens with living people or very freshly deceased). They find her organs marked with an odd, intricate symbol.
• A small point, but they never cover up the body, and don’t make a huge effort to shoot from more ‘respectable’ angles, so there are many shots of nudity in the film.
• Since the film takes place in the basement of the Pathologist’s house (where his clinic is) and there’s terrible weather outside, they’re basically sealed off from the world. They need the lift to get off the basement floor (something contingent on electricity, you can guess what happens). This makes it intensely claustrophic, there’s only a few rooms available.
• There’s some fantastic atmosphere and anticipation for scares. As a traditionalist, Austin puts a bell around the ankle of a cadaver, as back in the day, if a body wasn’t dead, you’d hear the ring if it moved. This is used to absolutely fantastic effect, as you can guess what happens. It’s fantastic, I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about the scene.
• Also it’s quite terrifying to be in a room with something that may or may not be dead. There’s a scene where the lights blow out and you hear something heavy flump on the ground. Terrifying!
• The way the film is set up (locked in a basement with access to only a few rooms, with cadavers around), it made the movie cheap to produce without feeling that way.
• Any negatives? A small point but the body looks like a typical 20-something-year old girl, it would’ve fit the plot more if she had more distinguishing (non-beautiful-model-like) features.

Overall: Oh man, what a great film. This is what horror’s all about, the creeping dread. Really enjoyed it – go see it!


Release Date
November 3, 2016