After Triangle, I was waiting for the familiar-supernatural-film to be shown in class. Luckily, Autopsy of Jane Doe was one — or at least I considered it one. The camera angles were familiar too. It was clean (the usual sharp cuts and clear shots) and the gloomy vibe was the cherry on top.
Some of Graham Sleight’s perspectives were present in the film. First, the “trope-based approach” wherein the the furniture of the genre is emphasized. The fact that there was a mysterious undamaged body found underneath a house and a morgue involved already screamed horror to me. Second, the “architecture based approach” wherein it looks at the overall structure of the genre. Under this it shows the introduction (the familiar and normal scenes), the warnings (the music on the radio and the spine-chilling mystery behind the body, the odd discoveries and reactions of the body whenever they did something to it), the things that went wrong (bodies start walking, supernatural things happening and the like) and when the monster is revealed in the end (when they found out that Jane Doe was a former witch. Third, the “effects-based approach” wherein you can identify a genre through its effects. The sound effects and music alone was enough to categorize it as a horror film. This approach also takes into account the reactions of the audience. It plays around with emotion and evokes a “sense of doom” feeling. In the film the old song that played randomly and in loop was terrifying. I love music from the past but when it is used in a weird scenario (morgue) or an out of place situation it starts to freak me out. The happy and warm tune of the song mixed with the tension and cold aura of the room made it all the more scary.
There were four parts in the film that scared me the most. One was when the music switched from a normal station to an older and jolly song.There was something haunting and sinister about the song. The other was when the two characters heard the bell from afar. Ever since I saw the bell tied to the foot of the dead bodies I knew it was going to move at some point. When Tommy and Austin moved and locked themselves in another room then heard the sound of the bell I screamed. The thought of something dead rising and walking towards them frightened me. Next, the shadow that the father and son saw behind the shower curtain. That scene felt realistic. I had a similar experience when I caught a glimpse of a figure crouching in the shower when I was little. I saw it briefly from my peripheral view. I was not sure if it was my imagination but I remember getting shocked because it happened so quickly (I just saw it from my peripheral view then when I looked faced that direction it was gone). The last scene I found terrifying was when Tommy and Austin were trying to escape the place and they heard an officer trying to breakdown the door to help them but ended up singing the haunting song (not sure if it was the same song but it was still scary). At that point I felt the helplessness of the two and the sense of doom in their situation.
Even though I liked a lot of scenes I found a couple of scenes quite off too. An example was when Austin or Tommy supposedly killed one of the walking corpse but ended up killing Tommy’s girlfriend, Emma. I found it quite weird because I knew Emma left them already. I also did not get the memo that they were also hallucinating. Maybe it was part of the witch’s power? Another part I found quite funny was when they entered the morgue and the dead bodies were ganging up on them. The effects were not as good. It did not seem real and it kind of felt like a video game at one point. In the end I was also waiting for Jane Doe (witch) to sit up and walk. I was waiting for her expressions to change, for her to blink or breathe. But she ended up staying chill the whole time which was interesting.
I would recommend this film because for me it was unique. The monster in the film was not physically aggressive unlike other horror films I have watched. She controlled things with her mind. The plot twist in the middle (revelation of her true identity) gave me goosebumps because it dealt with the early English Salem witch topics — something that I find scary. I also liked it because it was a different take on the witch storyline.