WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS.
When watching or producing horror films, location is very important because it will set the tone and the vibe of the movie. So, why not have the setting of a horror film in a place where dead people stay for a few nights (that isn’t the cemetery)? A morgue is the perfect choice! It already gives off the creepy vibe since dead bodies are stored here for a few days but it is also where morticians open up a lifeless body to find the cause of death. André Øverdal’s “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” brings out our nightmares and fears in a morgue that we (unless it’s just me) hope never come true.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of working in a morgue is that I hope the dead do not become zombies, as in ‘walk like a living being but still dead zombies’. This, however, is exactly what happened in the film, but not to the titular character. So, of course, my nightmare came true. The worse part is the fact that the morgue is in the basement, so if you get attacked by a horde of the undead you either have to take the elevator (which would obviously be made unavailable by the supernatural) or take the stairs that leads outside (but, of course, the door that would save your life and MAYBE end this nightmare will be blocked by some magical force). When dealing with the supernatural, it never ends with happily ever after. It makes for a good movie though! Only if the director and production crew play their cards right. “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” did….. for a while.
I must say that the build up to climax was amazing, as in scary amazing. Every aspect of the plot came together. The clues that the Tildens found in Jane Doe’s body are shocking, to say the least. Aside from broken bones, burnt lungs, and a chopped off tongue, they’ve also uncovered a piece of cloth that has weird stuff written on it, a tooth that is apparently hers, a flower that is apparently a paralyzing agent, and the most horrifying of all, her skin that has become some sort of drawing board for a ritual. Whoever did that to poor Jane Doe is insane. The audience’s sympathy for Jane Doe is short-lived, however, because later on it is revealed that whatever strange things that has happened to the Tilden’s is all Jane Doe’s doing.
The scary part is… Jane Doe didn’t even have to lift a finger to bring forth devastation to the father-son duo. She just laid there on the table, seemingly lifeless, and the two (2) protagonists fight for their survival as the morgue’s three (3) corpses come back to life as zombies and try to scare the life out of them. The big reveal or the climax explains how and why Jane Doe is able to do all these unnatural activities. Our Jane Doe is a witch from the year 1692. The body is 324 years old and is far from dead.
With the first hour or so minutes of the movie, I was engrossed because for once, whatever was happening to them was not because of a stupid thing they did and for me, that is already a great achievement. As a result, I couldn’t wait for the climax. Perhaps my expectations were brought too high, but I was rather disappointed with how the climax went. I thought that the creativity of the plot twist was lackluster. It seems that whatever mysterious occurrences that happen in horror films are the work of the supernatural, just blame it on the unknown. It does explain why Jane Doe’s body is unscarred despite of what her innards reveal, but from the clever story-writing at the start it all lead to the explanation that she’s, apparently, a witch that wants revenge. It is quite incredible that even though she is paralyzed and cut open, she has the power to understand. This is shown when Tommy bargained with her to not hurt his son, Austin, and she complied by killing him instead. The saddest part of the movie was that no one survived. Since Tommy didn’t fulfill his end of the bargain because his sone killed him to stop the witch, Austin was killed by his father’s corpse care of the vengeful witch. Definitely not a happy ending for anyone.
The movie ends with Jane Doe’s toe moving with the bell ringing, signifying that she’s a living dead. Unfortunately, no one will know what she actually is because the video recorder was destroyed when the Tildens decided to burn her to end their horrifying experience. As all supernatural horror movies, the end does not actually mean the end, it’s just the end of the life of the protagonist and the antagonist moves on to another victim. That seems to be what Jane Doe will do next.