Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

It would not be a Fantastic Fest without any scary movies and this particular one turned out to be my favorite horror film of the festival.  Written by Ian B. Goldberg, Richard Naing, and directed by Andre Øvredal (Troll Hunter), The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a flick that ranges a wide spectrum of horror with creepy, gross, and genuinely frightening moments.  Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox star as Austin and Tommy Tilden, a father and son team of coroners who do autopsies on a regular basis in Grantham, Virginia.

Tommy has been the local coroner for many years and his son Austin, who has been learning the trade, yearns for something different.  Even though Tommy has lots of experience studying and examining corpses, nothing will prepare him for the one fateful night when a Jane Doe ends up on his table.  Despite his plans for an evening with his girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond), Austin decides to help his father deal with this last order of business for the night.  As they proceed to examine the remains, the Tildens make some seemingly nonsensical discoveries and come to a frightening realization as some bizarre events begin to occur through the night.

Øvredal delivers a film that had me cowering and cringing my seat often, yet I could never remove my eyes from the screen.  He and his crew do tremendous work building suspense, chills, frights and thrills.  Working with Danny Bressi and Saunder Jurriaans on the score, Roman Osin on cinematography, Peter Gvozdas and Patrick Laarsgard on editing and exceptional sound, effects, and makeup departments Øvredal creates a nearly claustrophobic and creepy atmosphere that is a near perfect nightmare for horror fans.  Hirsch and Cox offer wonderful performances in a film that should be watched in celebration of Halloween.

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