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Why is death and violence so fascinating? Is it morally correct to show violence in movies? If so, is there a limit to what we should show? That's the subject of Ángela's examination paper. She is a young student at a film school in Madrid. Together with the student Chema (who is totally obsessed with violent movies) they find a snuff movie in which a young girl is tortured and killed. Soon they discover that the girl was a former student at their school... Written by
Mattias Pettersson <email@example.com>
The film had a relatively small budget of P116 million - equal to about 696,000 EUROS. See more »
When Professor Figueroa finds the door to the secret library, before he enters, he wears glasses. In he next shot, as he enters the door, the glasses are gone, but they come back some shots after. See more »
WARNING: The following scenes may hurt the viewer's sensibility.
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While doing a thesis about violence, Ángela finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Soon she discovers that the girl was a former student in her faculty...
I've been wanting to watch this film for a couple of years now, but was hard to tract it down until it was finally available to rent on Netflix. To my disappointment, I should have not even bothered. The film has an intriguing theory about our society's attraction for the morbid, but it just didn't have that powerful impact it needed for it to be effective. Thesis was way too slow and took too long to get to the action. It has some suspenseful and atmospheric scenes that play off our fears of the dark and the unknown, but few and far between. For having a subject matter like this, the film was just not terrifying enough, but definitely a lot more intelligent than most thrillers that get released to theaters these days.
The acting was very subtle and focused and Ana Torrent makes for an engaging lead as Angela, a student who stumbles upon a Snuff film while doing a thesis about violence. She figures out that the victim in the video was also a student in her faculty that went missing. Angela does some of her own investigation while the killer or killers is on her tail. The film was filled with an uneasy feeling that crawls under your skin, but never leads to anywhere haunting to make you lose sleep over. The characters where also not that interesting other than the lead actress and made some pretty weak decisions, which made me yell at the screen. Nothing that amazing here, just decent.
Director, Alejandro Amenábar best known from the modern horror classic The Others. He definitely likes to inject his pictures with atmosphere, suspense, character, and story and fear the old fashioned way than relying on CGI and bloodshed. For this being his first feature, it's not half bad and pretty gripping, but has pacing issues. I can tell though that he is in his element here and was in his element in The Others, so I hope that we get another thriller or horror movie in the future from him, as he seems to be the most skillful in those genres.
Overall, It's not a must see and not for all tastes, but for its time it's kind of a one of a kind thriller and I would of probably appreciated it more if I watched it when it came out in 1996. Watching it now though, some of it just came off as a made for TV. movie and clocking in at 125 minutes, the film took too long to get going. Worth a look if you have nothing better to watch and if you were a fan of 8MM, but don't expect a fast paced thrill ride. 6 out of 10
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