The term “Jane Doe” refers to unidentified corpses. When a female “Jane Doe” arrived at the morgue, coroner Tom and his son Austin started working to find the cause of death by the following morning as requested by the sheriff. The corpse had no visible external injuries, as the autopsy proceeded, secrets were revealed from the body. As a storm was approaching, strange things started happening. Tom and Austin then realized that they were actually dealing with evil.
“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is the type of movie that has only a few characters who got trapped in an enclosed space, it must have a good script and a good director to make the movie works. Director André Øvredal didn’t disappoint the audience. Especially the first 45 minutes, a professional autopsy was demonstrated and the suspense was well built up by evidences found in different body parts. Be prepared yourself if you don’t get used to close up scenes of body organs, they will be disgusting and gross.
The second half of the film turns to a horror movie. There was a tradition in the past to tie a bell to the ankle of a body to avoid any wrong declaration of death. So a scary moment in the film is that the tinkling bell was heard at the far end in the dark morgue – the dead bodies were raised and walking around. At several moments I thought the “Jane Doe” would suddenly come alive, but eventually it didn’t happen – a bit underused of Olwen Kelly (Jane Doe).
Both Brian Cox (Tom) and Emile Hirsc (Austin) gave a convincing performance and made the movie truly effective. However the movie rushed to a normal ghost story ending without much surprise and logic. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a good mix of mystery and horror. Its first half is so well made that we can forgive its disappointing finale.