A little out of practice on blogging. Had to rediscover a reason to do it. Sort of tired of blowing my own horn and self-promotion. My son suggested I use it for snippets of fiction (flash, short story or parts of novels) but all that strikes me at the moment as a bit too self promotional. So the reason to do it is for fun. And what would be fun for me is writing about movies and TV. I watch a lot.
And for the record since this is self-entertainment, I’m going to put “spoiler alerts” more or less in every review because it’s not a “normal” review that carefully walks around too much revelation. It’s my review.
Here’s my review of The Autopsy of Jane Doe
One of my sons told me about it and said it was “almost” too scary for him to watch. So this was a challenge. I’m that guy that thinks he “can’t be scared” though when my kids were young (and still some of this lingers) I don’t like watching films where young children are hurt or kidnapped. Don’t mind teenagers. Most (in the movies) deserve it. Just kidding.
The big spoiler of this film is that it could have been so much better! The simple and spooky setup of a father/son autopsy business (do they even have these?) in an old basement of an old house is pretty good. When I saw Brian Cox in it, I thought whoa he’s been in Bourne Identities. He’s no slouch. And for the “kids” Emile Hirsch who I vaguely remembered from somewhere maybe something to do with college kids running from a serial killer? No. IMDB tells me he was in Into The Wild where he got to play the clueless kid who gets himself killed by being too naive about nature. Sometimes a scary movie is better with unknowns (see: It Follows) but these two told me if I was going to be stuck in an autopsy lab (warning: was this a play? no! thank god) it might as well be with two decent actors. Well, one proven, one pretty boy.
They find a body and have to do their thing. It’s late. It’s raining. Spooky things start happening right away which I won’t go into, but pretty soon the actors catch up to the audience in thinking this is a dangerous situation and maybe they need help.
What’s close to genius about the film is the mixing of “body horror” like the infectious blood of an alien (The Thing) with cult-sign and eventually witches. I think it would have been a better film if they hadn’t wandered into the only “too much talking” section where the father tries to explain the history of witches (liberal version: innocent herbalists etc). Ah, but he’s wrong. Whether or not they were once innocent herbalists (see: patriarchal crushing of smart women) this particular “witch body” (she never even has a name hence the title) has twisted into a real mean bitch. Even when the dad tries to “make a deal” with the corpse (The Exorcist style — “take me!”) she reneges on the deal mainly to keep on killing.
Is she killing men in particular? Morticians? Autopsy professionals? Or just anyone? Do we care? Not really. There was a reference I didn’t “get” to how the wife/mother had died and whether it had something to do with why they “deserved” the witch’s revenge. I was formulating what it could be and then it seemed irrelevant and would require me to re-watch it to “get it” so maybe you will or did.
There are a few spooky (if somewhat predictable motifs) that are effective. But in the end, no it wasn’t that scary to “the man who can’t be scared by a movie” (other than “Death on the Highway” which they used to show in drivers’ training to scare you into not wanting to drive.) But that was a long long time ago.