Thesis (Tesis), 1996

© Las Producciones del Escorpión, S.L.

Human beings, no matter how well-meaning, are attracted to violence and death in all its forms.

– European film critic Marguerite la Caze

Does snuff exist? 

The next time I hear that, I’m gonna smash someone’s head open with a sledgehammer and record the whole thing on a two hundred year old camera, which will record shit, because of the way I handle the equipment. I swear to grainy, out of focus, shaky, monochrome, visuals of women tied to chairs and masked men doing what they do in films like Tesis.

Tesis has a fairly original plot for its time but sadly it does not have a long shelf life. When film student Ángela (Ana Torrent) decides to construct her dissertation on violence in pictures and its blah de blah de dah, she unwittingly discovers a tape, which her horror freak fellow student Cheema (Fele Martínez) validates as real deal snuff. The movie stops and displays this on the screen:

“Didn’t see that coming”
“That, seems out of place”

I’m only kidding. Plus you would have known that anyway because Johnny Test, 2005-2014, a highly lovable and vastly entertaining show on The Cartoon Network, which my kiddo and I loved watching until about a year back (now she likes S. Korean boy bands).
A time (2005) when people still communicated like regular people and not code breakers or David in Alien: Covenant, 2017

A spooky, at times, film which Alejandro Amenabar (The Others, 2001) directs with deft and enough thrills and urban legends to keep the viewer interested. It even tries a hand at somehow trying to resolve the psychosexual tension (you’ll see) by making it symbolic of the culture that consumes violent films.
However, believable performances from the leads and the overall sickly feel of the film make Tesis a picture that could have been something more vicious like, 8MM, 1999 or the more in your face Untraceable 2008‘ and less of a whodunit thriller.

The baddie Eduardo Noriega from The Last Stand, 2013 (Arnie‘s last picture where he is giving orders) is here, all menacing and charismatic. However that does not change the fact that Tesis, despite holding on to its central plot does not deliver what is expected of a film based on one of the most frightening and fascinating subjects of all time. A subject, which the filmmakers cannot help but follow the aesthetic of the American horror genre, and Angela operates as the Final Girl, defying stereotypical feminist traits

Having said all that, I loved the last five minutes or so. 

Random person: “Does snuff exist?”
Me: “It will if you don’t shut up.”

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