the autopsy of jane doe red band trailer

When I left the theater after seeing The Autopsy of Jane Doe at Fantastic Fest last month, the first thing I did was try to find a way to steady my nerves because this movie is scary as hell. The second thing I did was wonder how IFC Midnight was going to market a movie that takes place almost entirely around an autopsy table, with an increasingly, uh, examined dead body being central to much of the plot. The easiest answer: a red band trailer, of course.

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fantastic fest 2016 awards

You never know what you’re going to get at Fantastic Fest, the Austin-based genre film festival that takes great delight in immersing attendees in the strangest, wildest, and most unique movies from around the globe. Over the course of eight days, I saw 27 movies. I saw some of the best films I’ve seen all year. I saw oddities I will never forget. I saw some things I wish I could forget. As is always the case, I missed a few big titles, like Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, the divisive The Greasy Strangler, and the crowd-pleasing Bad Black.

But now, it’s time to put a bow on this year’s fest. Sure, the festival itself has juries on hand to recognize films in the line-up, but there’s only one awards ceremony that really matters here – the one that I create out of thin air to throw imaginary accolades at my favorite movies from the line-up.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in the best, weirdest, funniest, oddest, scariest, etc. movies to emerge from Fantastic Fest 2016.

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Everything We Saw at Fantastic Fest 2016


When the smoke cleared, I ended up seeing 27 movies over eight days at Fantastic Fest 2016. The Austin-based genre film festival always has a strong line-up of odd, unusual, and unique movies from around the world, but this year was truly exceptional – I saw very few movies I wouldn’t recommend in some capacity. I even saw a handful of movies that are in serious contention for my end-of-the-year top 10.

For the sake of completeness, I have compiled all of my Fantastic Fest coverage into one place, with links to my reviews and smaller capsule reviews for everything that didn’t get their own post. If you’re looking for a something terrifying or unique or action-packed or tear-jerking or just plain unusual, there is something here for you.

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the autopsy of jane doe review

The horror genre is so often dominated by stupid characters doing stupid things, so it’s refreshing to watch a film like The Autopsy of Jane Doe. Here is a frightening story about two intelligent men whose talents for science and deduction break against a wall of undefinable supernatural power. Here is a fascinating mystery where the pleasures are not only derived from a series of increasingly terrifying and impossible discoveries, but from watching these two men work down a checklist of every possible rational explanation before realizing they are beyond their limits.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a film as interested in process as it is in jump scares and the result is one of the most entertaining horror movies I’ve seen in a year that has had no shortage of great scary movies.

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The Black List 2013

Most year-end best-of lists consist of things that have already been produced, released, and consumed. But the Black List stands apart in that it’s all about the films that haven’t come out yet. Created by Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic, the annual compilation shines a light on the “most liked” unproduced screenplays of each year, as voted on by hundreds of Hollywood executives.

Not all of these films will get made, let alone made well, but the Black List still serves as a good indication of what projects are being buzzed about. Last year’s list included Transcendence and RodhamDjango Unchained and Saving Mr. Banks were among the highlights the year before that. Three out of the last five Best Picture winners were Black List scripts, as were seven of the past twelve screenwriting Oscar winners. Hit the jump to read titles and descriptions for the 72 that made the cut this year.

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Briefly: Troll Hunter director Andre Ovredal has set up a new take on horror to direct later this year. The film is The Autopsy of Jane Doe, and it will be more of a psychological horror story than the more outrageous tale that was featured in his breakout film.

The film is written by Ian Goldberg and Richard Naing. Variety reports that the film is set in a mortuary in a small town, “where father and son coroners receive a mysterious homicide victim — a beautiful young “Jane Doe.” As they attempt to figure out how she died and who she is, they discover increasingly bizarre clues, which hold the key to terrifying secrets.”