Not every film can get an in-depth review, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to say. Here are some more thoughts from screenings we attended.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe is the English-language feature debut of André Øvredal (who wrote and directed 2010’s Troll Hunter). Much like The Void (reviewed here), this film was a horror highlight at Fantastic Fest. Anchored by two incredibly strong performances by Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, The Autopsy of Jane Doe keeps you on your toes with it’s twists and turns. Scares are a plenty as the two main characters perform an autopsy on an unknown women found half buried in the basement of a crime scene. With each layer they peel back (figuratively and literally), the mystery grows as well as the danger in which they find themselves. My only criticism was the use of cheery song that signals something creepy about to happen. It feels uninspired and derivative, and took away from the otherwise exciting and fun scares that Øvredal has crafted here.
The Eyes of My Mother, a first-time effort from writer/director Nicolas Pesce, haunts and horrorifies with its stark black-and-white beauty. After Francisca witnesses her mother’s senseless murder at a young age, her life is irrevocably altered. Isolated on the farm where she grew up, she has her development stunted and redefined by her tragic past. Kika Magalhaes is a revelation with her performance Francisca. To call the performance cold and detached would be an understatement. Every expression and movement is practically inhuman, as though her character truly never had a point of reference for how people act. Over the course of the film, we watch Francisca attempt to rebuild her family. It has all the makings of a Jack Ketchum novel, but infused with class and sophistication that’ll leave viewers chilled.
The Invisible Guest is a new Spanish thriller from Orio Paulo that will ensure viewers in its puzzle. Businessman Adrian Doria (Mario Casas) is discovered in a locked hotel room with the body of his murdered lover Laura (Bárbara Lennie). He maintains he did not kill her, but there’s no way anyone else could have done it and left the room locked from the inside. Hours before he is due to be indicted for Laura’s murder, he walks through the events that lead the couple to the hotel room with top-notch defensive lawyer Virginia Goodman (Ana Wagener). Nothing is as it appears with twists coming a mile a minute. Paulo plays with expectations and smartly toys with the audience. As for the invisible guest, it’s no spoiler to say it’s the truth.