Review – The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)


The Autopsy of Jane Doe came out in 2016 and while I had heard of it in certain circles (mainly Reddit and Twitter), it really didn’t come across my radar until very recently, when I found it on Netflix, the place where hidden gems go to die. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 87% fresh with a 69% audience score as of January, 2019. IMDB ranked it at 6.8 stars out of 10. I’ve got to lean more towards Rotten Tomatoes on this one and give it a strong 8/10. It was written by Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing, and directed by André Øvredal.

Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch play a father and son team, running a family owned mortuary. After the discovery of an unknown female (Jane Doe) found at a gruesome unsolved murder scene, they are tasked to perform an autopsy on the girl to establish a cause of death. She arrives with no visible wounds to her body, and Cox and Hirsch believe that they can tackle the project quickly before it gets too late to interrupt their evening. As they start conducting the autopsy, strange things begin to happen in the mortuary around them, nothing overt, just little things that can be quickly written off. As the night progresses and the real terror starts, they have to quickly discover what is happening to them, to the girl, and to the house. It is a quick and tight story, running around 1 hour, 26 minutes.

The script was strong and well written; the mystery of the murdered girl pushes the plot forward, but it is the acting strength of Cox and Hirsch that really drove this one home for me. Even without them, it would have been a good movie, but their addition made it so much better. I was legitimately creeped out at times, not just by the story but the setting itself, being in the basement of a family run mortuary in an aging building. The two actors had great chemistry and I still don’t know why the movie hasn’t had as much pull towards it. Any horror fan would be left satisfied. It used the combo of setting and tension mixed with a couple of classic jump-scares that don’t overdo it.

Bottom line: give this one a go. You won’t be disappointed.

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