Directed by Alejandro Amenabar
Written by Mateo Gil & Alejandro Amenabar
Produced by José Luis Cuerda
Cinematography by Hans Burman
Cast: Ana Torrent, Fele Martinez, Eduardo Noriega & Rosa Campillo

1996/121 mins/Color/2.0 DD
1.66:1/Spanish/Spain/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Vanguard DVD

Snuff films depict the killing of human being - a human sacrifice (without the aid of special effects or trickery) perpetrated for the medium of film and circulated amongst a jaded few for the purpose of entertainment. In early February of 1976, following rumours on the possible existence of snuff films, and reports circulating that one such film had been smuggled into the United States from South America, one-sheet poster was displayed in the Times Square area of New York, outside the National Theatre, 1500 Broadway, 45th Street. The poster was for a motion picture titled SNUFF. X for Violence.

The artwork was that of a bloodied, cut-up photograph of a naked woman and it bore the legend, "The film that could only be made in South America... where Life is CHEAP!" It also promised "The Bloodiest thing that ever happened in front of a camera!"

The whole "mythology" around snuff films have always intrigued the media and the audience. While they say that it disgust them they still wanna see it. That's why there was so many exploitation and mondo movies in the 1970's that claimed to show the real thing. Even Hollywood gave it a shot with mainstream product like Joel Schumacher/Nicolas Cage's 8MM. Coming from Spain, Alejandro Amenabar's THESIS (TESIS) is without a doubt one of the best thriller about snuff films.

Winner of 6 Spanish Goya Awards (the equivalent of the Oscar) including Best Picture and Best Director, THESIS is a must see. Angela (played by Ana Torrent) is a student doing her thesis on visual violence. After the mysterious death of her professor who was supposed to help her with her project she comes across a shocking tape showing the brutal beating and ultimate death of a young woman who attended the same school as her but disapeared two years ago. Angela finds help in the hands of Chema (Fele Martinez), a fellow student who loves porn and gore movies and who is considered a marginal amongst others. After doing some investigation, some of the leads points them to Bosco (Eduardo Noriega, a regular in Amenabar's works), a good looking guy who might not be what he looks like. To make things worse, especially for Chema, Angela finds herself attracted to Bosco. What follows is a two hours thriller that will get you in the edge of your seat.

This is the first DVD i have ever seen from Vanguard and i sure hope they aren't all that bad. Image wise, the film is presented in a 1.66:1 ratio, the colors are a little bland and there's a couple of video dropouts. The image is a little better than a VHS but not up to DVD standard. The stereo soundtrack sounds ok. The film is in Spanish with easy to read but non removabled subtitles. The film is separated in 22 chapters, comes in a keep case and there's no booklet or inlay card. As for the menus, they are the worst looking i've seen so far plus it takes forever to make a change. The film was also release on DVD in Spain from Sogepaq but i believe that it is the same transfer as this one. With the North American success of Amenabar's THE OTHERS, Vanguard has re-release THESIS on DVD. A special edition DVD was also released in France and Spain.

In recent years, Spain has give us some of the best directors ever, guys like Jaume (THE NAMELESS and the upcoming DARKNESS) Balaguero, Nacho (AFTERMATH and GENESIS) Cerda, Alex (ACCION MUTANTE and THE DAY OF THE BEAST) de la Iglesia and now Alejandro Amenabar who's follow up to THESIS, OPEN YOUR EYES in a superb mind thriller. Tom Cruise is a big fan of Amenabar's work and bought the rights for American remakes of both THESIS and OPEN YOUR EYES. The remake of OPEN YOUR EYES was released as VANILLA SKY by Cameron Crowe and featured Tom Cruise reprising the role of Eduardo Noriega while Penelope Cruz playing the same role as in the original.





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Review by Kim Dubuisson. All Right Reserved. 2003. ©