Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Year: 1996 Runtime: 125 minutes
Rating: Rated R for strong and perverse violent content, brief strong sexuality and strong and some drug content.
IMDB rating: 7.6/10 Tomatometer: 89%
With his debut film, Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar came through with the psychological suspense thriller Tesis, showing his promise of other great films to come like Abre Los Ojos and Mar Adentro. While exploring the theme of violence in the media, Tesis takes you on a wild rollercoaster ride.
Tesis follows the story of Angela, a university film student in Madrid, who is writing a thesis on media and violence. Her search for material leads her to fellow student, Chema, a man who obsessed with and has a large collection of extremely graphic films. The course of her research changes when she happens to come across a video in which a young woman is tortured and killed on film.
Chema recognizes the girl as a former university student. As they uncover clues, they get caught up in danger, finding themselves the targets of something much bigger than just an isolated snuff film. Angela knows she’s in trouble, but isn’t exactly sure who are the real killers. As the plot unfolds, it keeps you guessing with suffocating twists and turns.
Tesis was filmed with a budget of just $1,000,000, but it is smart and well executed. Alejandro Amenábar does it all with writing, directing, and even composing. The music follows the horror genre adding an eerie feeling.
The film most often gets compared to 8 MM starring Nicholas Cage, but Tesis is far superior. Other similar films include Videodrome and Strange Days.
If you enjoy horror or suspense thrillers, then you will fully appreciate what Tesis offers. As always, it’s a great way to practice your Spanish.