While investigating a gruesome murder of an entire family, investigators discover a body buried in the basement of the home. The sheriff brings the young woman’s corpse to the local coroner for autopsy. The body has no apparent signs of injury or decomposition. The father and son team of Tommy and Austin Tilden begin their examination and begin to find there is much more to the woman than anyone thought. Jane Doe apparently has a story to tell and the two coroners embark on a journey for the truth they will regret taking.
There is something a lot of us find unsettling about being around the dead. How many of us take the shortcut through the cemetery after dark or take night jobs at a morgue? There is a disturbing uncertainty of what might be lurking in that graveyard or in that body drawer, even when logic and science tell us there is nothing to worry about. That atmosphere helps set the stage for the film.
Although most of the scenes are in the basement autopsy room, the sense of dread and anxiety comes more from the acting and story, rather than the atmosphere alone. The dialogue is convincing and the actors carry the film very well, especially Brian Cox’s portrayal of Tommy Tilden.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe provides some genuine, intelligent scares. The audience is not cheated with cliche’ scenes of people opening mirrored cabinets and finding nothing.
The story is engrossing. The visual effects are first-rate and the film moves along quickly. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is an independent horror film with everything a big studio budget would offer, except for lame PG-13 content, bad acting and too much CGI. This one is a good old-fashioned horror movie and it is a keeper.
TRT: 99 minutes
Appropriate gore: 9
Production value: 9
Final Cut score (46) 92%