Sleep Tight Movie Review
Directed by Juame Balagueró
Written by Alberto Marini
2011, 97 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
Luis Tosar as César
Marta Etura as Clara
Alberto San Juan as Marcos
Petra Martínez as Veronica
Sleep Tight is a movie that’ll undoubtedly be compared to 2011’s Hammer horror The Resident. After all, its stalkery storyline bares an uncanny resemblance to the more mainstream Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Hillary Swank outing. That said, while Sleep Tight may have a similarly creepy outer-shell at its core it oozes a chilling, long-lasting brand of evil that sets it aside from anything you’re likely to have seen before. It’s important to note that this is no remake fodder. The Resident has no affiliation with Jaume Balagueró’s Sleep Tight but if it did, reviews of this recent Hammer nail-biter would have been plagued with the phrase, “Yeah, but it’s nothing compared to the Spanish original”.
Balagueró’s psychological shocker follows the dark exploits of César, the concierge of a run down apartment block in Barcelona. It doesn’t take long to get to grips with César. He’s a hollow man, furiously depressed and unable to feel any form of happiness. As we spend more time with this depraved character, more disturbing things emerge. He’s hopelessly sadistic, a guy who takes pleasure from sapping joy from others and ruining lives. Of course, all these troublesome traits are bubbling silently on the inside. Like any good sociopath, César looks and acts like a perfectly normal member of society, a quality that proves to be the downfall of the only tenant to give him the time of day, the beautiful Clara.
Played by Marta Etura, the innocent Clara sees César as a harmless handyman who can fix leaks and rid her apartment of bugs. Little does she know that to César, she represents everything he resents in a person – kindness, happiness and opportunity. While she bounds about her apartment in nothing but her skimpy PJs, César lays under her bed, patiently waiting for her to fall asleep so he can emerge from the shadows. As Clara’s life begins to turn upside down, a mysterious and extreme admirer plagues her with strange texts and letters. With all this personal turmoil, the unsuspecting César is free to blend into the background and avoid suspicion until it’s far too late.
[Rec] director Juame Balagueró once again returns to the claustrophobic setting of the suburban apartment block, but brings with him a more grounded form of terror. By casting actor Luis Tosar as his Spanish Norman Bates, Balagueró creates one of foreign cinema’s nastiest offerings. Obsessive, shifty and dangerously unpredictable Tosar paints a picture of one man’s fascination transformed into vicious vindictive rage. If all this sounds a bit too heavy then fear not, Balagueró does make attempts to lighten the mood. Watching the sweaty-palmed César being blackmailed by a little girl resident who knows too much raises some smirks. But when his goal nears its chilling climax, even this dark comedy quirk takes a serious turn. Like most foreign frighteners, Sleep Tight is boldly willing to go to all those unforgivable places that most mainstream Hollywood horrors don't dare to tread. In doing so, it becomes a hard film to forget.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
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