Blu-ray Review: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE Is Laid Bare
Through June 27, Scream Factory's The Autopsy of Jane Doe has an exclusive, yet bare bones, Wal-Mart release.
Andre Ovredal's (Troll Hunter) excellent horror film, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, comes out tomorrow, May 2. Scream Factory is releasing the film, but they're doing things a little differently this time around; Wal-Mart has the exclusive right to sell the Blu-ray/DVD combo package until June 27, when it comes out everywhere else. (Seriously, Scream Factory doesn't even have a page for the film on their website, not even a "coming soon" placeholder page.)
The Autopsy of Jane Doe was a huge hit on the festival circuit, garnering plenty of awards. If you were lucky enough to see it with one of those audiences, you'll know why. Ovredal directs with a masterful hand, combining a mostly one-setting film with a sense of dread and claustrophobia that's rarely done so effectively. Jennifer Lynch's Chained comes to mind as another recent example. If we're going old school, I'd also say that The Autopsy of Jane Doe lives in the same house as Alien, with its dead serious, haunted house vibe.
In the story, father-son morticians played by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch are about to lock up for the night when the sheriff (Michael McElhatton) wheels in a strange corpse. Found unearthed in the basement of a house -- that's also the location of a gruesome crime scene -- the deceased is an ethereally beautiful (Olwen Kelly) girl with not a mark on her.
The only gripe I have with the film is that Hirsch's girlfriend (played by Ophelia Lovibond) is wasted. *** SPOILER WARNING *** She's only in the film long enough to establish a relationship, disappear, and then come back during the bloody finale for no reason other than to die. *** END OF SPOILER *** It's a minor thing because it's a small role, but when you're female and you see characters of your gender onscreen whose only purpose is to further the emotions of the male lead, you see it ALL THE TIME and it becomes grating.
Anyway, my personal feelings there don't take away my enjoyment of the rest of the film. Before long, a series of creepy events unfold in tandem with the autopsy --- and its very strange findings. Blood spurts out when it's not supposed to, and the morticians find odd markings on inner flesh, a tooth wrapped in an ancient cloth, and oh, so much more.
If you've seen the film, a chill might have just gone down your spine. If you haven't, you'll get to discover this extraordinary piece of filmmaking. I'll say no more, except that this device freaks a lot of people out, and it's effective as hell.
The disc itself -- I only viewed the Blu-ray, not the corresponding DVD that came with it -- is bare bones. A recent Canadian release offers Ovredal's new short film The Tunnel, which is also an award winner, along with a TIFF Midnight Madness q&a, and alternative cover art. The Scream Factory disc only offers trailers and TV spots, which is nothing like the distributor's usual full-on treatment of their titles, as they usually overflow with great bonus features.
In short, the film is incredible, and it looks and sounds great here; however, the release left me wanting much more in the way of supplementary materials. Will The Autopsy of Jane Doe scare you senseless? Check out the trailer below.