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When the dead fight back

by Tyson Burger January 24, 2017
When the dead fight back

The Autopsy of Jane Doe brings a fresh breath of terror to the horror genre

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is the type of film that will leave you too terrified to sleep alone. Directed by André Øvredal and starring Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox and Ophelia Lovibond, the film’s unique concept makes it both a refreshing and chilling addition to the horror genre.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe tells the story of Tommy Tildon (Cox) and his son, Austin (Hirsch), as they perform an autopsy on a woman’s body that was found at a crime scene earlier that day. The father-son team soon discover this is no ordinary body. While her exterior appearance seems in perfect shape, the autopsy reveals that her body is rife with inexplicable internal injuries, hinting at a history of intense suffering.

Soon after they begin the autopsy, strange occurrences and unfathomable terrors take place, and the two characters struggle to complete their examination in an attempt to uncover the secrets of Jane Doe and hopefully put an end to her malice.

The movie is very much about the relationship between Tommy and Austin. Tommy is knowledgeable and experienced, while Austin—though he still has a lot to learn—is filled with curiosity. While in the morgue, Tommy tells his son “down here, if we can’t see it, touch it, it doesn’t matter” in response to his son’s curiosity about the horrid condition of Jane Doe’s internal organs.

Jane Doe is representative of the father and son’s relationship: there are deeply hidden problems, such as that Austin wants to leave his father’s practice, that they need to dissect and work on together to overcome.

The film does an excellent job of brewing terror. The setting is terrifying on its own. What could be a creepier profession than dissecting the dead? The audience gets thrown into a morgue, somewhere unfamiliar and uncomfortable, which is the perfect state to be in to reach the maximum level of terror. Slow, menacing shots are used to build up the tension, keeping the audience in suspense by not revealing too much. Combine that with the emotional connection between the characters, a unique and well-executed plot and a soundtrack that will haunt your dreams, and you have a solid horror flick.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is now playing in theaters.

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