Brian Cox is a coroner teaching his son Emile Hirsch the family trade. One night, the cops bring in a corpse of an unidentified woman (Olwen Kelly) who died under, shall we say, unprecedented circumstances. The sheriff wants answers FAST and Cox and Hirsch roll up their sleeves and prepare for an all-nighter. As the duo search for answers, it soon becomes apparent that this ain’t no ordinary corpse.
Director Andre (Trollhunter) Ovredal expertly builds up the mystery surrounding the curious corpse. As Cox digs deeper (both literally and figuratively) he finds more and more bizarre inconsistencies in the body. Ovredal is able to wring a lot of suspense and atmosphere out of the autopsy room scenes, and the coroners’ grisly discoveries gives the early sequences quite a kick.
The set-up is intriguing and instantly gets your attention. Once things move out of the autopsy room, it gets decidedly less effective as it goes along. It’s here where Ovredel eschews the creepy vibe of the early scenes in favor of some fairly standard who-goes-there scenes set in dark hallways, which gets quite frustrating. The ending is predictable, and a bit of a letdown, especially considering how eerie the first half was.
Cox and Hirsch make for a great team. They have some fine moments together as they try to piece together what happened to the corpse. Kelly is able to create a sinister presence, a feat that’s made even more impressive when you consider all she does is lay there. Unfortunately, so does the climax.
AKA: The Morgue.