Well. That was absolutely traumatizing. In an amazing way.
Man oh man, I can safely say I haven't left a theatre feeling so content (or absolutely terrified) with a movie in a while, and on top of that a horror movie? That's unfathomable. Usually my in-theatres horror movie selections leave me thinking "excuse me", or being utterly enraged over an ending, or the characters, etc etc. But this? This was phenomenal.
This past weekend I had delight of seeing The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which snuck into select theatres among the hustle and bustle of the holdiays and feel-good films. This gem comes to us by way of Norwegian director André Øvredal who gave us TROLLHUNTER back in 2010.
NOTE: Errr, TROLLHUNTER left kind of a bad taste in my mouth, so maybe I'm not the best person to advocate it. That being said, everyone I know loved it, and it got bomb reviews. Personally, the found footage thing? Overdone beyond belief. And don't even get me started on the characters.
ANYWAY, back to Jane Doe. Much more of a clean, and well-thought out film, with a slow and building tension, and exceptionally rational characters. When I talk about rational characters in horror films, that's really saying a lot, since the genre is flooded with moronic decisions, made by equally moronic leads, that have you facepalming, after facepalming, after facepalming. The cool thing about Jane Doe, is that you have two characters, in the roles of two coroners doing an autopsy, applying logic as to why and how the victim passed away. It's almost like you're watching a crime thriller for the first bit, with an eerie sort of unsettling calm that's backed by the fact that the whole thing takes place in a morgue. Creepy, right?
The coroners, are a father son duo, played by Brian Cox and Emile Hersch, and their back and forth banter really makes you warm up to both of them. The wicked thing about the duo, is that even as slightly off-putting things start happening, the two refuse to discuss anything supernatural occurring around them, and consistently try to find solutions that are backed by ration and reason. Not to mention the brilliant character development that's happening over the course of the movie, which is another factor that's often missed in horror films. You end up really feeling for these two, and rooting for them wholeheartedly.
Øvredal also does a wonderful job of throwing in little details that add to the overall overwhelming creepiness. One thing I'm going to say is, pay attention to sounds in this one. They play a huge role. Be it from the quiet calm with creaks, gory sound effects, specific lyrics or words spoken in the background on the radio, to the most terrifying faint bell noise you'll hear in the history of horror, Øvredal really toys with all your senses, and gets your heart pumping. I can really attest to the fact that 20 minutes in, I was squeezing Trevor's hand to the point where I was crushing it, with my adrenaline pumping like no tomorrow.
I'm really liking the direction that horror is going in. I've noticed recently a spark in the foreign art-house horror genre that really pays more attention to beautifully shot films, with thought and care being put into an otherwise cast aside genre. This means horrors are being nominated for things that make them serious contenders among other more "developed" catagories. Other films I would note for someone looking to get into this subgenre would be Goodnight Mommy, and The VVitch.
In the meantime, GO WATCH THIS FILM. I am giving it a firm thumbs up to any horror fan. Even for people that aren't too keen on horror, I promise you this is a good one. It doesn't rely on too many jump scares and really plays with your senses in another way, a way that has been cast aside in the more mainstream horror movies out there.
Happy 2017 everyone!