The Autopsy of Jane Doe (R)

Starring Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch and Olwen Catherine Kelly, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is  about a coroner and his apprentice son who live in a small town where there has been a family massacre.  The body of a “Jane Doe” (played by Kelly) is recovered from that massacre and dropped off at the morgue to figure out a cause of death.  When the body arrives strange things begin to happen inside the morgue and one horrifying night ensues.

Of course, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is gross because an autopsy is being performed on this corpse. If you cannot stand the sight of blood, or corpses, or incisions and the like, don’t do it to yourself.  You will be sorry.  Along with being what some may consider gross at times, the movie is also frightening because of the things that are happening in the morgue and the cold, sterile setting in which the action takes place.  This is a well-conceived, well executed, scary horror movie.  There is suspense right from the beginning that pulls you into the story and holds you there until the very end.  You get invested in the characters.  Most importantly, and surprisingly, you become invested in this corpse and you want to figure out what is going on.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is thoughtfully written and the concept of the story is nothing short of riveting. The technique used to piece together these clues one gross piece at a time is brilliant.  Watching the story behind this Jane Doe unfold keeps you guessing about what the corpse will tell the coroners next.  I was so caught up in the autopsy that it took a while before snapped out of it and was like, “Okay, so what does this all mean and who is this girl?!”

Bryan Cox does some solid acting, particularly for a horror film. Things happen that have no logical explanation and you see him trying to wrap his head around the fact that these supernatural events are actually occurring.  As a man of science, the truth takes him a while to digest.  Certain occurrences are brushed off with pat explanations or left unquestioned because it conflicts with his beliefs, until he and his son can no longer brush them off.  Emile Hirsch does a really good job as well.

The effects and make-up in this movie are awesome! If you could imagine what an actual autopsy might be like or have seen parts of them reenacted you already have a general idea of what a real life autopsy might be like.  This autopsy is about as dead-on as it gets because you get to see so much of it and it is done so slowly and deliberately.

I cannot tell you the things I did not like about this movie without offering up spoilers, which I will not do here because the less you know about this movie, the better the movie works. Just know the movie is not quite a masterpiece in my opinion, but it’s close and I would recommend you see it for yourself.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe earned 9 out of 10 bloops. I think it is an excellent movie, worth seeing if horror is a genre you enjoy.  If I watch it again it might earn a 10, but I don’t believe I will be doing that any time soon.  Even if you don’t watch a lot of horror because many of them are so poorly executed, this one is worth a watch.  It definitely gets a bump up from the 7.5 I was going to give it initially to a 9 for the strong acting from Bryan Cox, the creativity in the story’s concept, the writing, the effects, and last but not least, the make-up.  If you’re a fraidy-cat like me, you won’t want to watch it alone before bed.  I am not ashamed to admit that I started it before bed, thought better of that decision, stopped it at about 2 minutes in and woke up to finish it in the morning.  Don’t judge me.  I watched it on Amazon Prime but it is playing at the IFC Center in New York at 9:50 p.m. at least through Thursday if you want that extra creepy “sitting with strangers in the dark while mindlessly munching on hot buttered popcorn” experience.  Happy New Year and Enjoy!


Note:  I still haven’t found a character I like to represent a “bloop,” but here is a breakdown of how they work.


1 – worst ever, avoid at all cost
2 – very bad, forget about it!
3 – poor movie, not recommended
4 – not good, even for free – NO!
5 – so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6 – not bad, could have been better
7 – good movie, worth seeing
8 – great movie, don’t miss it!
9 – excellent movie, a must see!
10 – a masterpiece, go see it now!

Note:  I know I said I would review Passengers last week, and I could tell you life happens and things got in the way, because they did.  But in all honesty, I couldn’t make myself care enough about that movie to write one word on it.  I have started writing it up and will publish my review this week.  Just so you know, do not go to see it.  Wait until you can see it for free.

Up Next: 20th Century Women and Silence. Don’t know in which order yet.  Thank you for continuing to read!

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