Here is a stylish, indie thriller we just had to bring to your attention. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (starring Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox) was a last minute addition to our viewing list of the season, and we were pretty happy to have been invited to see it, at a special screening, at The Theater at Ace Hotel, in downtown Los Angeles. See the film’s trailer below.
Having the star of the film, Emile Hirsch, watch the movie a few rows away, in the middle of the big audience, and then take the stage to talk about the film, was the cherry on top. Hirsch was visibly passionate and excited about being there. The charismatic performer shared plenty of insight about his participation in the film. It is always a treat for fans when such events come together, bringing the stars of the film who are eagerly available to take the audience behind the scenes of making a film.
From the director of Trollhunter, André Øvredal, The Autopsy of Jane Doe (released by IFC Midnight) is quite a thrill-ride. It is definitely indie with all the makings of a solid, small-budget studio film. The selection of cast members and the way they mesh is as surprising as the twists and turns in the film. Can you tell we liked this film?
So, what is it about (synopsis)?
In small-town Virginia, police are called to a gruesome crime scene where a family has been massacred in their own house. In the basement, an even more disturbing discovery is made: the partially buried corpse of a nude woman. The cops take this unidentified victim to a small, family-run morgue, where they ask proprietor Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) to perform an urgent forensic analysis in order to help determine what happened at the blood-stained house. Tommy’s son Austen (Emile Hirsch) cancels a date with his girlfriend (Ophelia Lovibond) in order to help his father perform an autopsy, and the two Tildens set about their grisly examination in the morgue basement.
Working late into the night as they methodically peel back layers of skin, muscle, and bone, Tommy and Austen are baffled by the lack of external signs of trauma on the victim and the alarming extent of her internal injuries. Increasingly perplexed and frustrated by these forensic anomalies, the pair begins to succumb to late-night jitters, getting spooked at apparitions that seem to be lurking in the shadows. As the dread mounts and the atmosphere gets thick with evil, it becomes apparent that the Tildens’ fate is intertwined with a darkness that neither of them can comprehend.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is stylish, clever, and deliciously evil.
Øvredal has layered The Autopsy as tightly as the confined space, the family-owned mortuary the lead characters operate in.
Don’t discount the motionless, presence of Jane Doe (the corpse), played by actress Olwen Catherine Kelly, whose face and body featured throughout the entire film, in carefully selected angles, become very effective in getting under the viewer’s skin.
Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox are paired perfectly together as the father-and-son team cutting into Jane for answers. The two are determined to find clues on how she might have died. Yes, there is plenty of disgusting shots of skins and organs being cut. Yet the filmmaker manages to keep the gore at a level which satisfies both hardcore horror fans and the ones who, let’s just say, might not have the strongest stomach for it.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is stylish, clever, and deliciously evil. It is paced evenly, always elevating the antics, and photographed beautifully by cinematographer, Roman Osin.
Perhaps not an ideal pick as a winter holiday, Christmas viewing for the entire family, but this out-the-box pick by our Brave New Hollywood staff, will frighten and entertain.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe opens today in New York, and it is streaming on YouTube, and Google Play.
Watch the official trailer below.