Thursday, January 05, 2017

‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ Keeps the Audience on Their Toes

A pair of small-town coroners, Austin (Brian Cox) and Tommy Tilden (Emile Hirshe), who also happens to be father and son, are about to wrap up their day, when Sheriff Sheldon Burke (Michael McElhatton) suddenly arrives, bringing with him a strange, unidentified corpse of a young woman (Olwen Kelly) found half-buried in the basement of the house which has been the scene of a grisly, baffling homicide.  The sheriff asks the coroners to determine the COD (cause of death) by morning.  Thus, the Tildens have to spend the night laboring to solve such complex puzzle.  But as they proceed with their work, more questions than answers are uncovered, which eventually leads the father-and-son duo to make a terrifying conclusion about the dead woman’s identity.

Such is the intriguing premise of The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a supernatural horror film that gradually gets eerier and eerier as it progresses.  Though not free from annoying false scares, this movie does successfully build tension well.  At the same time, a continuous sense of dread of the unknown is maintained.  What’s going to happen next?  What’s the deal with this Jane Doe corpse?  Will she suddenly move?  Will she eventually rise up?  It has some sprinkles of familiarity in the flow of its plot, but it generally keeps the audience on their toes, guessing till the end.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is the kind of horror films that I like – producing its thrills from having more focus on being mysterious, smart, suspenseful, subversive, and subtle, instead of being overly methodical, gruesome, startling, and loud.

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