The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Dir: André Øvredal
I absolutely adored André Øvredal's 2010 film Trollhunter and couldn't wait for his directional follow up. There has never been a really good film with an autopsy being the central subject and since that great autopsy scene in Silence of the Lambs I've often wondered why. The Autopsy of Jane Doe was sold to me as an engaging thriller that had the autopsy as a focal point. I thought it would have been a mystery/thriller based on scientific finding, something that had never really been done before, except in episodes of CSI. I forgave the odd bit of moody lighting, creepy noises and all the other things people expect from a film set in an underground mortuary. What I couldn't forgive however, was the onslaught of horror cliches and the lazy 'just because' attitude of the film that actually started off so well. I love a bit of forensic investigation and the more gore the better, and while Øvredal doesn't hold back as far as the special effects go, everything else has been done before. There is a scene seen through a camera, giving the audience a bit of 'found footage' but this is never taken further, when for once they could have explored it to its fullest potential. There is a bit when the cat jumps out of no where, a reflection of someone who isn't really there and the classic eye at the keyhole scene but nothing remarkable whatsoever. While I did like elements of the conclusion, it was still rather lazy and unrewarding. The story itself had so much potential but it was woefully squandered. Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox played father and son coroners rather well and there was nothing wrong with their performances, it is the cliche-ridden script that lets them and the audience down. It's been a while since I've seen a truly original horror, or at least one that scares through its own merits. I thought André Øvredal would be the sort of director who would change all that, and as good as the film often looks, this is a huge missed opportunity and something that, not only have we seen before, but something we horror fans are getting tired of.