The mythos and terror surrounding ghosts, ghouls, demons and the occult has long fascinated film makers and cinema goers alike. Whether it’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, M.R. James’ ghost stories, fairy tales, Twilight or traditional folklore, people are seemingly transfixed by the unknown or supernatural. This is particularly the case in film, especially around Halloween where there’s a heightened air of mystery and danger. The Autopsy of Jane Doe takes place in a mortuary. Not somewhere you want to be when things begin to go South.
Tommy (Brian Cox) and Austin (Emile Hirsch) Tilden run the family mortuary. When the body of an unidentified female is brought in, Austin’s plans for a night with his girlfriend Emma (Ophelia Lovibond) are put on hold. What should be a straightforward autopsy quickly begins to puzzle the duo as there’s no apparent cause of death. As they dig deeper they gradually uncover a traumatic past. But the closer they come to uncovering the truth the more dangerous the quest becomes.
The strength of The Autopsy of Jane Doe is in the mystery which shrouds proceedings. Director André Øvredal allows the events to play out like a crime thriller, injecting horror and supernatural aspects to heighten the tension. As with his brilliant Troll Hunter, there’s a rich brain of dark humour and some clever action sequences. The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a tense thriller which brings the occult to modern day small town America.