It feels like it’s been forever since André Øvredal dropped Troll Hunter in our laps, and to be fair, that was in 2011, so it has been a while. But the Norwegian helmer is back with his first English-language horror offering, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, which his here with a creepy new trailer for you to gawk at.
NOTE: I haven’t seen The Autopsy of Jane Doe yet, but word around the campfire is that this trailer is rather spoilery, so that’s something to consider before you press play.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, and the few people with opinions I trust on such matters have been raving about it ever since. And that’s despite the fact that it doesn’t, to my knowledge, contain one single giant troll. It’s something very different from Øvredal’s last film, but it looks no less compelling.
The story follows a small-town father-son team of morticians played by the great Brian Cox and Emile Hirsh. In addition to being an effective horror yarn, indications are The Autopsy of Jane Doe is also a fantastic movie about their relationship—dad still mourns the death of his wife, while the son wants to leave the family trade, and stuff like that. When the sheriff drops an anonymous body on their doorstep, they discover there’s more to this corpse than meets the eye.
Here’s a longer synopsis if you’re interested in such things:
In small-town Virginia, police are called to a gruesome crime scene where a family has been massacred in their own house. In the basement, an even more disturbing discovery is made: the partially buried corpse of a nude woman. The cops take this unidentified victim to a small, family-run morgue, where they ask proprietor Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) to perform an urgent forensic analysis in order to help determine what happened at the blood-stained house. Tommy’s son Austen (Emile Hirsch) cancels a date with his girlfriend (Ophelia Lovibond) in order to help his father perform an autopsy, and the two Tildens set about their grisly examination in the morgue basement. Working late into the night as they methodically peel back layers of skin, muscle, and bone, Tommy and Austen are baffled by the lack of external signs of trauma on the victim and the alarming extent of her internal injuries. Increasingly perplexed and frustrated by these forensic anomalies, the pair begins to succumb to late-night jitters, getting spooked at apparitions that seem to be lurking in the shadows. As the dread mounts and the atmosphere gets thick with evil, it becomes apparent that the Tildens’ fate is intertwined with a darkness that neither of them can comprehend.
IFC Midnight drops The Autopsy of Jane Doe on VOD on December 20 and in select theaters on December 21. This is definitely one I’m going to check out before I make my “best horror movies of 2016” list.