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Sunday, 16 October 2016

BFI London Film Festival - The Autopsy of Jane Doe


I booked this by mistake. I saw directors name, André Øvredal, and got excited so I booked it. I read a little about it and liked the idea, thinking it's a thriller. I was very wrong.

I watched a trailer, read more about it and realised too late the film was a horror film. As time grew closer to watch the film I was more anxious. The venue was changed too and we were offered a refund and this felt like a sign. But seeing as I had been looking forward to seeing the film before I knew I had to just sucks it up and go. It was raining and dark, quite fitting as there is a storm supposedly raging outside in the film. The cinema was dimly lit and quite eerie. André Øvredal was there and seemed quite excited about showing it and that it was a horror, quite different was his previous work, Troll Hunter.

A father and son who are the local town's coroner, morgue and crematorium are working late one night when a body of a young woman is brought in, a Jane Doe. Throughout the autopsy, the two men discover annomelies with the body. The first being she has no marks on her, only internally. As time passes they realise there is other forces at work.

Described as a thriller but really a horror. The opening sequence sets up the film, dead bodies covered in blood, no sign of entry but signs of those inside trying to escape. Then there is Jane Doe half buried no harm on her but clearly a dead body. From there the familiar tropes of horror genre films begin. Brian Cox and Emilie Hirsch are the coroners and really the cast of the film. They make a good team and believable family. Apparently Hirsch studied with a coroner in LA before the film and said it was the worst experience.

With a very small cast, the fear element is ramped up to the maximum. Not only are they doing the autopsy but they are trying fight off the dead and escape. There are jumps, scares and a few bad lines but these are expected in a horror. The concept of the story is actually quite brilliant but the way it goes there could only have been a couple of explanations. The chosen one was good and worked for the story. Even though I was pretty much sitting right down my seat, I'm glad I watched it.

After the film  André Øvredal stayed for a Q&A. When asked he did say the writer was keen to write more about Jane Doe and that is a chance for sequels. So a new horror franchise could be born and I actually witnessed it.

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