Netflix Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe

I really wanted this to be great. I’d been anticipating it for years before it finally came to Netflix, and I’m a fan of Emile Hirsch, so I was excited to see him in something again.

The film starts with the discovery of a body in a house where there was obviously some sort of attack. As the police investigate the crime scene, they send the body of the unknown girl (now a Jane Doe) to the coroner for a full autopsy. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch play a father-son duo who own this small family mortuary, and now are tasked with performing the operation just as a big storm is about to hit the town.

The setup is great. The vibe is creepy, we get locked into our main location quickly, and the chemistry between Cox and Hirsch feels genuine. The first third of the movie was actually pretty good. You get thrown into the story without too much exposition, which adds to the creep factor because you aren’t really sure what is going on. Then, about halfway into the film spooky things start happening and the film decides it needs to explain why. The rest of the film is an info dump of theory that doesn’t feel earned as there hasn’t been any evidence laid out to support it before the characters start jumping to conclusions about what it all means.

Unfortunately, what is a great setup for a film does not always result in a great execution. There were some effective visuals and some creepy scenes but sadly, the film falls flat in the second half. By the end you don’t remember what worked at the start of the film because you’re just left with a feeling that everything ties together a little too conveniently without really making any sense at all.

Horror Movie Round Up Week One: October 1st-7th

vacancy

Vacancy (2007)

Synopsis:
A couple gets stranded in the middle of nowhere and have to spend the evening in a cheap hotel where they are the only guests. Things take a turn for the weird pretty soon thereafter.

Review:
This was pretty good but not great. I thought the suspense was there, and the idea is really creepy but I didn’t quite buy into the two leads (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale). I also thought the opening was too long. However, once the action starts things pick up, and the scares are pretty good.

Rating: 3 out 5 stars.

 

amityville

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Synopsis:
A remake of the 1979 film of the same name in which a family moves into a new home and begin experiencing strange occurrences.

Review:
First things first, this is obviously not as good as the original. I was only really creeped out in one scene, and while I liked Ryan Reynolds, his character’s descent into madness felt too extreme and too quick. In the original the madness comes on slowly and manifests itself in everyday irritants. Overall it was fine but unnecessary and didn’t do anything to change or improve upon the original.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

 

bubba-ho-tep

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Synopsis:
The spirit of a cursed mummy terrorizes an old folks home. Oh, and our two heroes believe that they are actually Elvis and JFK.

Review:
I love Bruce Campbell in cheap B horror films. This is a hilarious setup and a good, fun film. It does get a little creepy but mostly you watch it for Bruce Campbell, and boy does he deliver.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

cujo

Cujo (1983)

Synopsis:
A rabid dog wreaks havoc on a small town neighborhood.

Review:
I have never read any Stephen King novels but I have seen several of his films and I always end up liking them. This one was just okay for me. There was a lot of build up to the final showdown with the dog, and while I know some of it was necessary, it felt a bit drawn out. That said, I did enjoy the tension of the scenes with the mom and child in the car. That was well done, and very tense.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

creepshow

Creepshow (1982)

Synopsis:
An anthology of five short stories of horror and terror.

Review:
Another Stephen King film, and this time a bit more enjoyable for myself. As with most anthologies not everything was a hit but I at least had fun with each story. I thought they all set up their eventual punchlines nicely, and was satisfied with each end result. “They’re Creeping Up on You!” was the one that creeped me out the most, and I especially liked “Something to Tide You Over” and “The Crate.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

bone-tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Synopsis:
A western in which a small band of men goes on a rescue mission to save three hostages from cannibals.

Review:
Calling this a horror film is a bit of a stretch. It has some horrific elements, and it does build tension throughout but I don’t know if it is conventionally a “horror.” However, it was still pretty good. I’m a sucker for Kurt Russell, even more so when he is in a western. I’m also a big fan of Patrick Wilson, and Richard Jenkins, who was outstanding in this film. Matthew Fox was also excellent as the douchebag cowboy. Outside of some slight pacing issues, this was a very good film watching experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

wolf-man-1941

The Wolf Man (1941)

Synopsis:
A man returns home after a long absence, and is bitten by a werewolf, consequently becoming infected with the same condition.

Review:
I liked this. It’s one of the classic Universal monster films, and it rightly deserves that title. It isn’t really scary but it is a well told story. It introduces the idea, quickly brings on the action, and explores an interesting thought process about mental stability. And at only an hour and ten minutes it does all of this quite succinctly.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Next week’s preview:
Nosferatu (1922), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Deliverance (1972), and more.