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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2002
After watching Abre Los Ojos at the cinema, I decided to watch other films that were directed by Alejandro Amenabar. This was his first film and is a thriller that has been unmatched by hollywood. The story is about a girl who discovers a "snuff" movie, and what happens to her as she tries to investigate the murder. Needless to say anyone who has watched Amenabars films before will understand it is full of twists and surprises and the finale is one of the most gripping, and genuinley shocking I have ever seen. Prepare for a sleepless night the first time you experience this film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2002
A student studying violence in film happens upon a disturbing snuff movie, the subject of which is a girl who disappeared from the college 2 years ago. Plenty of suspense and plot twists to keep you interested before you find the real culprit. More conventional than Abre los ojos, but with some similar themes. Blurring reality and fantasy/nightmare.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2010
The film is an exciting film of the type where someone almost by accident gets involved in detecting a crime ring. This time the ring involves someone who is making snuff movies (Films of real people being tortured and killed).

The twists in the plot as the protagonist, Angela (Ana Torrent), tries to find out who is behind the filming of a videocassette that she comes upon are as good as any film of this genre. Only at the end are you really sure who is on the side of right, and who is a villain.

There are a few scenes of violence (mainly near the beginning, though these are "film within film of the victims being beaten") but most of the brutality is off camera as we watch the protagonist's reactions. There is far less gratuitous blood and gore than in most war or horror movies, and nor does the film rely on the depressing fatalistic psychology of films such as Abre los Ojos.

Unfortunately, the UK release by Tartan (Tesis [DVD] [1996]): if you have a wide screen TV, the transfer is produced as a 4:3 letterbox (which looks rather strange on the 16:9 television. - I can "16:9" zoom it on the television, but the quality is lower than upscaling on the DVD. It also only appears to have a Dolby 2.0 soundtrack rather than the original's 5.1. On the plus side, this disk has optional English subtitles - given the good diction of the actors, it is nice to be able to switch them off.

If you want a proper 16:9 print with Dolby 5.1 (also with optional English subtitles), and quality matters to you, I'd recommend the Spanish release of Tesis.

The good one which has "Edición Especial Coleccionistas" written on the top of the image, I'd give *****.
The poor one has "Spain Tartan DVD" written on the top of the image, I can only give ***.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Media student Angela(Ana Torrent) is conducting a thesis on Audiovisual Violence. Struggling a bit she enlists the help of an elderly Professor called Figueroa(Miguel Picazo) and misfit student Chema(Fele Martínez) who has a large collection of violent and porn films in his dingy flat. Figueroa visits the library to try to find examples of extreme violence on film. Instead he finds a secret room full of video cassettes. The next morning, Angela finds the Professor dead, having seemingly expired whilst watching a video. She steals the video and takes it to Chem's flat. Chema puts the video on, and a woman is being horribly tortured on screen. He calmly states that the footage is real and that he recognises the woman being murdered. Soon the unlikely duo, determined to find out the truth behind the death of the woman called Vanessa, concoct a cover story that will bring them closer to her friends. It is then that Angela meets the mysterious, unpredictable Bosco(Eduardo Noriega) and soon Angela is thrown into a living nightmare from which there seems to be no escape
This film is certainly one of the best treatments of the 'snuff film'. It is restrained and full of tension as it both explores the nature of violence and voyeurism and the various characters reactions and motivations. For the most part it manages to carefully shock the audience through very subtle little touches. However it does go slightly over the top during the climatic scenes, slipping too far over into melodrama and maybe giving the audience a few twists too many. A shame, as up until this point it had promised to be one of the best thrillers I had seen in quite a while. Still, it's still a very fine film and one I would recommend to everyone.
Torrent and Noriega are both fine as Angela and Bosco respectively, but the real standout is Martinez who brings the character of Chema to life with a series of quirky little touches.
The best scene in the whole film for me was when Chema and Angela first watch the 'snuff' film. Chema shows a mixture of excitement and revulsion whilst Angela , although saying that she can't watch it, manages to open a gap between her fingers so she can witness the horror unfolding on the screen. We, the viewers(voyeurs?) cannot see what is happening in the film, but the terrifying screams and Angela's face frozen in fear tell us all we need to know.
Above all it is a very visually arresting film, so when the pace flags from time to time, the lush cinematography comes to the rescue.
A very fine film with plenty of extras on the disc. 4 out of 5.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 September 2010
An entertaining, thought provoking and at times truly scary first film. It reminds me of early DePalma, both in it's strengths and weaknesses.

Amenabar uses violence and fear as means to explore deeper themes and psychology - in this case the way we're all drawn to violent images, even if we claim not to be. But these ideas stay pretty heady, and at times teeter on preachy or obvious. The film is full of wonderfully clever visual and sound techniques, but occasionally you become so aware of the flash and `hey, what a cool way to film a scene' that it takes you out of the movie. Also for me, the score is a little too obvious a Bernard Herrman homage.

It also goes on a little long. The first 75 minutes or so seemed downright brilliant, but when you drag a thriller out, often the creakiness of the plot shows through. In the end there are a few twists too many for credibility, and it crosses into, `c'mon, she would have gone to the cops by now' territory for the last half hour.

Yet, even once it starts to feel a bit silly, it's never dull, and the tension stays high. For all its flaws, it scared me and it got me to think, and that's always worth applauding.
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on 13 May 2013
This is an excellent thriller with a well crafted plot.
The director, Alejando Amenábar was 23 years old when he directed Tesis, he also directed "Open Your Eyes" in 1997, "The Others" in 2001, and "The Sea Inside" in 2004 among a few other movies.
"Open Your Eyes" was remade in Hollywood as "Vanilla Sky" in 2001.
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on 9 October 2013
I don't choose five stars because everything was very good and he followed my expextations, but I didn't watch the DVD because it is from US and I can't watch it in Italy. Can you change it? I think it is a good idea to write in RED the origin of the DVD.

Best wihises

daniela mingotti
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on 29 July 2015
Yet another cut version to satisfy the UK market - show us the nauseating original
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on 8 May 2015
Great
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 December 2014
Funciona fatal
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