‘The Autopsy of Jane Doe’ Starts Off Strong But Falls Apart


The Autopsy of Jane Doe had hooked me instantly with its compelling premise, but the movie loses momentum before it hits the finish line.

Just as important as it is to have a great idea for a horror movie is knowing where to take it.

In a nutshell, that’s my biggest gripe I have after watching The Autopsy of Jane Doe. For the most part, I did enjoy this movie. While not necessarily agreeing with Stephen King that the film will “rival Alien, I loved that the film was different than anything else I’ve seen lately. It’s just that the ending, for me personally, is so disappointing that it would lessen the impact the movie could have had.

The movie is about a father/son duo who work together at a family morgue. They’re very busy following a mass murder at a house, the details of which are baffling the police. Most curious of all is the corpse of an unidentified woman found in the basement, whom they refer to as “Jane Doe”. While doing her autopsy, the mystery surrounding her death only grows, and paranormal forces trap them inside the building with this apparent evil.

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Without a doubt, the acting is the brightest aspect of the film. Both lead actors, Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox, are very believable and getting to know their characters is half the fun of the story. As a viewer, I found myself rooting for them to survive this terrifying ordeal. But seeing them go through with the autopsy to try to find more answers was very compelling.

But I’ve got to give a ton of the credit to the Jane Doe herself, Olwen Kelly. For being a dead body unable to move on her own, “Jane Doe” carries such a strong presence. It’s incredible how much she can frighten you literally without moving a muscle. Thanks to Kelly, Jane Doe has already become one of horror’s most memorable women in recent years.

So, what went wrong?

So with such a strong cast and interesting story, why is the film disappointing? It all comes down to the ending. I hate spoilers, so I will be vague here. I’ll just say that it would seem they just weren’t sure where to take this awesome idea. By the time you’re in the third act, too many overused horror tropes start popping up before what I’d call an anti-climactic ending.

The first two-thirds of the flick are great, using an original story and a creepy atmosphere to please horror fans. I just feel that the build-up only leads to a massive drop-off when the horror cliches end up overtaking the movie. It seems like the focus was more on leaving that sequel door open as opposed to delivering a truly solid ending.

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I still have to recommend The Autopsy of Jane Doe to horror fans, because as I was saying above, there are things here to enjoy. Up to a certain point, it’s actually a pretty entertaining experience. It just gets a little rough at the end there. I guess it’s sort of like riding a roller coaster with some loose boards at the end of the track.

Final Rating: 7 out of 10