The Autopsy of Jane Doe review by Adrijan Arsovski - Cinema Paradiso
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is directed by the same guy who gave audiences the criminally underrated and creatively great Trollhunter, a film about a man, his handheld, and a potential troll lurking the Norwegian woods (the guy’s name is André Øvredal). Now, André wants to make you uneasy, reclusive, and repulsive in The Autopsy of Jane Doe, a film where nothing is as it seems – at first. And so, the latter film greatly encapsulates all aspects of a modern neo-thriller, including uneasiness, mystery, creepiness, and a great deal of thinking that one should look elsewhere and off the screen. In light of this, The Autopsy of Jane Doe succeeds on all possible levels.
First, let’s address the dialogue. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (and its screenplay) does a great job of building characters and connecting character chemistry right from the get-go. Compared to the recent horror/thriller offerings where good and believable character development is thrown aside for some cheap thrills and the evergreen jump-scares, this film takes its time instead and makes something wonderful happen – people talking. In fact, the dynamics between the father and the son and so well executed that one can’t do much else but applaud the director for keeping things real. That, and the fact that they have very different attitudes about how to approach an autopsy builds conflict, pushes the story forward, and makes other films of the same variety look silly, rushed, and underdeveloped all at once.
But, as with all things in life, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is not without its fair share of flaws. These flaws are not casting a shadow over the experience, but nullify some things the director had previously built up and pull down the overall uneasiness by a notch. For instance, there a several jump-scares midway that showed little to no originality or punch. This would’ve been fine if the tone of the film wasn’t so darn good in the first place. After these schlock-scares happen however, the tonal difference between the first and the latter half of the film seems jarring, inconsistent, and makes André look like he had his fair share of influence from contemporary horrors such as The Conjuring, or any similar alternative your local theater nowadays offers. But, to the filmmakers’ credit and despite all of these flaws, somehow they still manage to pull it off and make The Autopsy of Jane Doe a genuine movie-going experience that’s still better than most horror films today.
In conclusion, if you’re the type of person who wants character development, character conflict, and everything the word ‘character’ entails in a handily crafted film, then The Autopsy of Jane Doe would be right up your alley.