Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar grabbed the attention of American audiences with his dreamy thriller Open Your Eyes
, but he earlier sent shock waves throughout Spain in 1996 with this disturbing debut. Thesis
is a quietly creepy psychological thriller about a young college student, Ángela (Ana Torrent) investigating the social fascination with sensational violence for her thesis project. In her search for violent video footage, she stumbles onto what may be a real live snuff film, a videotape that her professor was watching before his untimely death. With the help of a geeky gore junkie she uncovers a conspiracy that may include her handsome but sinister new boyfriend, her thesis advisor, and even her weirdo partner. When she uncovers one too many secrets lying in the catacombs of the university basement, she realizes that she may be the next victim. It goes on perhaps too long, and Amenábar's pointed observations on the lure of violence and the dark side of human nature are lost as the spiraling mystery spins into a first-person nightmare, but his skill at weaving a paranoid world where evil may lurk behind every friendly face is undeniable. Thesis
is reminiscent of Brian De Palma's early thrillers: dark, stylish, subdued, and bubbling with the characters' guilty (and ultimately dangerous) fascination with the transgressive. --Sean Axmaker
The winner of 6 Goya Awards - including Best Picture - TESIS is an American-style thriller from Spain's director sensation Alejandro Amenabar (The Others, Open Your Eyes). Angela (Ana Torrent: Spirit of the Beehive, Cria), is a university student writing her thesis about violence in the media. During her research, she comes across a shocking ""snuff"" film (a film where a murder is actually committed for the camera) that has apparently been shot on the campus. Investigating further, she uncovers clues that the university's administrators may be involved in an unexplained series of student disappearances, leading her to the ultimate terrifying revelation: she might be the next victim. TESIS has been acclaimed by critics around the world as a superbly constructed thriller that generates considerable suspense and thrills from beginning to end. The DVD features a new digitally-remastered widescreen picture along with a "making of" featurette, deleted scenes, and more.