By Shelby Fielding (Lubbock, Texas, US)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe: A Good Attempt at Originality
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is directed by Andre Overdal and stars Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox. This film tells the story of a father and son, both are coroners, who are pulled into a mystery filled with complex questions of identifying a young woman and her cause of death. What they find is the dark secrets surrounding her, and the evil that begins to haunt them. This film creates a sense of originality by constantly striving to create its own path by refuting the clichés of horror. Making this film an incredible breath of fresh air that embraces its audience with themes of intimacy and mystery. Creating an original horror flick with simple direction, but incredible fixation on its characters.
This was a film that was not anticipating very highly. The way this film was marketed reminded me of every other horror film that comes out near the end of the year, but this film was incredibly surprising. Primarily with its screenplay and performances. The film focuses on this father and son and their relationship. The son, played by Emile Hirsch, is primarily conflicted between his father and change. While the father, played by Brian Cox, is conflicted between grief and acceptance, these conflicting elements are constantly at odds with each other in the film. This not only helps the film become an original horror film due its focus on its characters, but also helps the film by creating investment for the audience. This helps push the film into a stand out from other horror films. Because once your invested into these characters you then begin to feel attached to the film. That’s what separates film like Alien from Friday the 13th.
These performances are done very well with amazing chemistry between Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch. The screenplay is also written very well by Ian B. Goldberg and Richard Naing. It really keeps you on your toes and does a brilliant job of combing the realism of an autopsy with the horror of mystery and things we don’t understand. The screenplay also does an incredible of diverting from clichés on more than one occasion. Where the films loses me is with its direction and its conflicting screenplay. While the screenplay is brilliant and original by diverting from clichés it still chooses follow certain clichés like jump scares. This is very conflicting for me as a viewer because once I appreciate the film did its originality it conflicts itself by following these clichés.
The direction also has flaws with how it’s fails to seize upon its opportunities. It’s not bad direction but it does fail to capitalize on the themes of isolation and claustrophobia. You never feel as if you are trapped in this place with these characters. That is due in part to its simplistic direction and problematic editing. Instead of using dark cinematographer and close zooms to encompass small spaces. Andre Overdal uses wide shots that fall short of the incredible opportunities that the film fails to capitalize on.
Overall this film is still a breath of fresh air with a combination of great writing and really good performances. Though it does fall short with its missed opportunities of simplistic directions and conflicting editing. Nonetheless I still enjoyed this film and was still surprised with the films originality. I’m going to give The Autopsy of Jane Doe a B-. What do you think of this film? What horror film are you most anticipating in 2017? What’s the most original horror film you’ve ever seen? Let me know down in the comments below and as always have a blessed day.