Writing and Reviews – Denise Pasutti
The Gist: Late one night Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) and his son Austin Tilden (Emile Hirsch), a coroner and medical technician in a family run business, are brought a Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly) found under unusual circumstances. As the pair work to determine the cause of death strange things begin happening around them and even stranger things are found within Jane Doe.
Well, this was definitely a gross but very spooky mood inducing flick. Gross because, you know autopsy. The Tilden family Morgue and Crematorium has been in the family for 200 years and passed down from generation to generation but that legacy is potentially about to end as son Austin has decided that he doesn’t want to continue the gruesome career of a coroner. Heading out to spend time with his girlfriend, Austin decides to stay with his Dad when the local sheriff brings in a Jane Doe late one night. The sheriff looks spooks and wants a cause of the death that night. Thus begins the 4 stages of the autopsy and a waking nightmare neither Tilden could ever believe is real.
SPOILERS: I went into this flick knowing almost nothing about it and enjoyed the reveals and strange things that the pair unveil as they dissect the woman who is showing no physical signs of trauma and is completely unmarked on the outside. As they work they find anomalies within but not what one expects. Missing tongue, abnormally small waist but going inside reveals more oddities like blackened lungs, a piece of a shroud with Roman numerals written on it and one of her teeth wrapped in that shroud and when they peel back her skin, tattoos where there couldn’t possibly be any. Add to the already unsettling circumstances is a storm brewing outside (did I mention that the morgue is in the basement of the house) and weird sounds, flickering lights and shadowy silhouettes and you have an atmospheric, haunting flick.
Final Thoughts: This is one of those movies that has a small cast and uses the majority of the screen time to focus on 2 or rather 3 characters including Jane Doe and it works well to create a feeling of quiet unease aided by a somewhat closed in feeling of the basement morgue. There are some gross scenes as mentioned earlier given that there is an autopsy taking place but it wasn’t too bad; there were worse scenes in the TV show Hannibal. Definitely one of the better horror movies to come out in recent months. 4 out of 5 creepy corpses.