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Autopsy Of Jane Doe’ Reveals Killer Talent

Indie horror film was one of the ten best of 2016, now opens at Digital Gym Cinema

Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) prepare to perform...

Credit: IFC Midnight

Above: Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch) prepare to perform "The Autopsy of Jane Doe."

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” made my 2016 Top 10 List so I’m thrilled it will now open in San Diego on Jan. 27 at Digital Gym Cinema.

Companion viewing

"Manhunter" (1986, featuring Brian Cox as Hannibal Lecktor)

"Aftermath" (1994, short film)

"Trollhunter" (2010)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe” made my 2016 Top 10 List so I’m thrilled it will now open in San Diego on Friday at Digital Gym Cinema.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” opens with a crime scene that baffles the local sheriff.

Inside a family home is evidence of a triple homicide. But in the basement, a fourth body is found, an unidentified, naked female corpse with no obvious signs of how she died.

Her body is brought to Tilden Morgue and Crematorium where Tommy Tilden and his son, Austin, run the family business. Tommy says every body has a secret, but this latest body to enter his morgue serves up a true mystery.

He looks at the young Jane Doe and asks, “What happened to you?”

As the examination begins they discover that her tongue had been ripped out. Then detail after detail reveals the horrific circumstances of her death.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is an elegantly crafted tale of dread set almost entirely in the confines of one morgue room.

Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal, who previously did “Trollhunter,” lets you imagine the horrors suffered by this Jane Doe and then ups the ante with a little supernatural malice. His film is beautifully shot and edited. It is not afraid to move slowly and methodically in building tension, mixing an old-fashioned ghost story with a forensic procedural thriller.

Øvredal also ups his game by casting the brilliant Brian Cox as Tommy Tilden. Cox is an actor of subtle skill and commanding presence. He brings a lovely sense of gravitas to the film and immediately engages us in the unraveling of a mystery through the meticulous process of an autopsy. He also displays just the right amount of morgue humor. One scene involving belling the corpses is especially nice.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” (rated R for bloody horror violence, unsettling grisly images, graphic nudity and language) is a smart indie film that knows how to turn its budgetary limitations to its advantage.

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