Tag Archives: Brian Cox

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Autopsy of Jane Doe</strong> (2016)

(On Cable TV, October 2018) I am of two minds about The Autopsy of Jane Doe, depending on which half of the film we’re going to discuss. The first half is an effective supernatural thriller, as two coroners starts working on the flawless body of a young woman found at a crowded crime scene. The contrast between the unblemished skin of the corpse and what they find while performing their autopsy is surprising and increasingly disturbing: broken bones, blackened lungs, missing tongue and teeth. Then it gets much weirder, as various … things are found inside of her. The mystery created by those discoveries is compelling: until that point, the film does score highly as a different take on familiar elements. But The Autopsy of Jane Doe then takes a sharp turn for the worse, as the thus-far realism of the autopsy quickly cedes ground to far more fantastic events. Sadly, Jane Doe ends up being an excuse for unrelated, incoherent paranormal events that kill a good chunk of the minimal cast. It’s during that second half that, clearly, the screenwriter abandons every rule they may have set for themselves. As a result, The Autopsy of Jane Doe becomes a film in which anything and everything can happen on a whim, giving us little reason to care about a film not playing fair with its audience. It doesn’t help that the film goes on a maximally nihilistic ending. Fortunately, I stopped caring far before everybody died. I do like the mystery, director André Øvredal’s effective use of a constrained setting with few characters, and the inventiveness of the plot’s first half. Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox turn in decent performance, with Olwen Catherine Kelly showing up as the corpse of Jane Doe. Unfortunately, the rest of the film works hard to undo nearly everything that was interesting until then, with a limp ending that does not leave a lasting good impression. Too bad…

Trick ‘r Treat (2007)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Trick ‘r Treat</strong> (2007)

(On DVD, December 2009) This straight-to-DVD horror feature may not aspire to sophistication, but It does manage to hit most of its targets as a horror film made for horror fans.  Trick ‘r Treat’s most distinguishing featuring has to be its playful non-chronological interweaving of separate short stories (four main ones, plus a prologue), into a tapestry of Halloween-themed gags.  Some of them are trite and obvious, while others have one or two surprises in store, but they’re all handled with a decent amount of skill, and the visual aspect of the film is as good as anything else in the genre.  Don’t look for redeeming social values, though: The “morals” of the film are ones that only gore-hounds will like, what with serial killers being set against each other, and people apparently being killed for not following a set of entirely arbitrary social conventions.  This being said, c’mon: It’s a self-consciously exploitative horror film about Halloween: it would be surprising if it wasn’t about gruesome deaths first, and everything else after.  Nonetheless, there are a few nice touches here and there as the acting talent slums a bit: Anna Paquin and friends are cute as not-so-innocent girls on the prowl, while Brian Cox and Dylan Baker turn in worthwhile performances.  Special credit also goes to midget scarecrow “Sam”, as close an iconic creation as the film gets.  Trick ‘r Treat all wraps up to a slickly-made, somewhat genre-centric horror film, not noteworthy in any way, but competent enough to warrant a Halloween party viewing or somesuch.