Every body has it’s secrets
Andre Ovredal may not be a household name, but after the highly praised mockumentary Trollhunter (2010), he was bound to return with another hit. After watching The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), it is safe to say that Andre Ovredal is on his way up in filmmaking business
Considering how short and ambiguous the film is, this by far the hardest film I’ve ever reviewed. Due to its length and interesting story, it is extremely difficult to not try to exploit the plot or twists that lie within the film.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) is short, but overall has near perfect pacing. The hardest part about reviewing the film is how I am attempting to not spoil anything about the plot or characters. That is what makes the film so great, its ambiguity. There are many films overlooked each year in cinema, most are often low-budget, but sometimes a low-budget film can be better than a triple A budget film. This is one of those films. It is surprising that with such a short, low budget film can be better than other thrillers released in 2016. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) is definitely one of the best thrillers released last year, alongside Nocturnal Animals (2016).
In the beginning, the film establishes its plot which is as fearful as it is intriguing. The film is definitely gory, most of the gore is either shown when main protagonists Tommy and Austin are working on deducting the cause of death. The practical effects are look surprisingly realistic for such a low budget film. In fact it can be very cringe worthy when Austin or Tommy “open one up”.
When you are thrown into the scenario of figuring out and deducting the cause of death of Jane Doe, you realize that only Austin and Tommy can truly figure out what is happening. In almost every film, the viewer either predicts, or figures out the ending of a plot, or a certain twist that happens as the plot progresses. In The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016), it is extremely difficult to even attempt this. You know that there is some supernatural force, but the plot point that is revealed near the end is something unique and completely original that has never been touched in cinema. This one twist changes the whole film, and in fact it can even demand a second viewing due to the multiple connections it has throughout the progression of the plot. It is imperative that you listen and pay very close attention to what is happening, the smallest details matter.
All set pieces are tense and unique, and the characters act intelligently. The reason why I mention this is because it’s refreshing to see a protagonist not act unintelligent and do every horror or thriller cliche in the book. Tommy Tilden is a traditionalist at heart and is by far the most likeable character in the film, he is lonely as he is also determined. While Austin may not be as likeable, he is still and enjoyable protagonist that puts family first. The chemistry between the two is refreshing and captivating. As in the beginning there is very little tension, but as the plot progresses the two begin to come together over their guilt. It is interesting to see what happens to the two, but also terrifying as you know if one dies, the other will have to deal with whatever is happening to them alone.
It is terrifying to see whether or not one of the protagonists will be killed off, because you tend to care for the two as they both have something to live for. Tommy lives to provide for his son and come to terms over the guilt of his wife’s death, and Austin who wants to leave the coronary business behind him and leave with his girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond). The characters definitely have depth to them, and both Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch have standout performances that help establish a deeper connection with the audience. The pacing of the film is near perfect pacing, the reason as to why I say it is “near” perfect, is because there are more than one occasion where the protagonist will discover something buried deep within Jane Doe, and once this happens the protagonists will stop the tension from rising only to tell what questions are racing through their heads. Now luckily this doesn’t happen throughout the film, it only happens a few times but it unfortunately still affects the pacing of the film.
As I had previously stated, there is very little I can talk about her without exploiting the plot. I can only talk about so much without spoiling a key part of the story. In such a short period of time, The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) able to tell a fearful, and highly engaging story with multiple ambiguous and plot points that have not been explored in cinema.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) follows two coroner’s, Austin Tilden (Emile Hirsch) and Brian Cox (Tommy Tilden), as they attempt to deduct the cause of death of a unnamed corpse found buried beneath the aftermath of a grisly homicide. As they continue to see what lies within the corpse that is given the alias of Jane Doe, but everybody has secrets. Recently there has been a severe lack of excellent thrillers, which is unfortunate to say the least. Luckily The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) is the breath of fresh air that the thriller genre has needed in recent years.
- Overall great pacing with many memorable set pieces that have great tension.
- Excellent performances from both Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox. Characters have great depth to them and in such a short time running time, are able to truly flesh out their characters.
- A great and original story that creates many moments of tension and fear.
- Does not heavily rely upon jump scares, when in fact it solely relies upon it’s build up in tension which makes each scene intriguing and ambiguous.
- A very short run time, but luckily still tells a great and horrifying story.
- Some pacing issues that happen once or twice in the film, the characters will often stop and investigate what they discovered breaking the rise in tension during the beginning of their deduction.
Overall The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) is a great thriller and has an original and interesting story with great performances from both Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch. The pacing does have some issues but as the two coroner’s begin to deduct the cause of death of the mysterious Jane Doe, the tension begins to rise which can bring you to the edge of your seat. While it does have a short run time, The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) is a must watch for thriller fans looking for a breath of fresh air.
Final Score: 8.5/10
December 21th, 2016
86 minutes (1 hour and 26 minutes)