One night at the morgue owned by father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch), when an unidentified, bizarre looking corpse comes in, I’d go as for to say that the girl looks attractive (not to be a necrophile tho). She was found buried in the basement of crime scene where a family was viciously murdered, this Jane Doe-strange enough was looking well preserved and with no visible signs of trauma.
The drama and horror of the film unfolds as the son and father works on the autopsy and discovers her deep secret, who she is and, what she is. The series of events that followed are points of horror that reveals that something supernatural about this Jane Doe.
In this film review, I would like to betray my ‘uneducational’ manner of speaking and use Robin Wood’s: American Nightmare (Horror in the 70’s) reading to tackle this movie. But before going technical I would like to share my insights and scenes in the film I loved the most.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe “was” my favorite movie chronologically through out the semester. I enrolled into horror film class not as an avid fan of horror or gore, not like my classmates are, so I have limited options to pick from as a favorite horror movie except the one-word-name horror movies like Insidious, Annabelle, and so on an so on. What I like about this film is it takes its time in unfolding the story of this Jane Doe. It doesn’t spoil you straight up, like giving itself away too much too early, also it doesn’t bore you enough to make you want to yawn in class. The story unfolds in a very smart way giving of clues that she’s from the North, and using a narrative of a young lady who was sexually harassed, then developing into a more sinister an dark past. All the evidences work out to together to piece out a beautiful and smart way of telling a brutally dark past.
My favorite scene was of course when they were reading out the bible ‘A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’” from Leviticus 20:27. It dramatically unfolds the truth in a spine-chilling way. They use something that is holy or a point of safety from the evil as something that professes the evil. This contradiction is found in most demon/witch movie.
In, Robin Wood’s article: The Other is something that is both external and internal to the self; it is something that is repressed by someone on the inside, and is therefore, projected onto something or someone else on the outside. The Other is usually dealt with rejection and annihilation, or if possible, assimilating it to the image of oneself, therefore creating a perfect replica. The other here obviously is Jane Doe, dealt with rejection and annihilation and hate. It makes you want to sympathize with this Other only if she was benevolent enough to not kill you. Robin Wood asserts that, “It is the horror film that responds in the most clear-cut and direct way, because central to it is the actual dramatization of the dual concept of the repressed/other, in the figure of the monster.”
The figure of the monster used in the Autopsy of Jane Doe was a girl and the repression show itself evident in the way that the monster here is someone attractive not the Frankenstein or deformed evil creature that most horror movies feature. What is good about this is it shows the dramatization of repression, in a way that “look at her, how she could’ve been normal” only if we didn’t individualize her and cast her off as different and eerie, we might have not upset her. In here shows the struggle between normality and how we define what is normal in everyday lives. Much as 300 years ago in the Salem Witch trials they dismiss anything indefinitely abnormal as witchcraft. However, the real horror is sometimes we still do identify and individualize persons creating “Other” subjects. Their beauty and drama of their repression is gracefully shown by Jane Doe. Just lying on a autopsy table, but somehow able to put out this immense dark energy into a hate burst of horror and killings.
Overall, this movie will allow the viewers to think throughout the movie, and the technical analysis of the film highlights a sad truth about reality. I like this movie and would recommend others to watch it.