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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. André Øvredal

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

When a Jane Doe arrives at a coroner’s office at the late hours of the evening, the following events begin to open the mind of coroner Tommy (Brian Cox) who explains life through rationale. Assisted by his son, Austin (Emile Hirsch), the investigation of the cause of death to a seemingly untouched corpse becomes the case of their lives, and maybe even their death.

Like an extended episode of CSI, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is an investigative thriller that delves into the world of supernatural but it is the lead characters and performances from a stern veteran and fresh talent that really holds this film together. Every moment they become a little close to uncovering the cause of death, unravels another question and as the night takes its toll on the pair, so do does the reality of what has landed on the table in front of them.

It's in its gripping detective work that the real hard work has paid off for writers Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing whose script was on the Hollywood blacklist until TROLLHUNTERS director André Øvredal picked it up and gave it life. Never is it known what the films reveal will be and when it comes, it’s as much a surprise to the audience as it is to the coroners.

Cox pulls another star turn here and shines in a role that should see him more recognised as one of Britain’s greatest actors. Showing a young Emile Hirsch the ropes as he leads in showing an emotionally tired character but one that has a wealth of knowledge in his field. For some, they may find the approach to AUTOPSY a little slow but it is in the detail where Øvredal really builds up the tension. This is less about what will scare me and more how.

Gripping, clever and sensationally well written, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE is a breath of fresh air for a genre that wheels out a bed of the same corpse of horror with many mainstream releases.

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