DVD Review – Sleep Tight (2011)

For many years Nick Ross on BBC’s long-running Crimewatch tv show used to tell us to ‘sleep well, don’t have nightmares’, In Jaime Balaguero‘s Sleep Tight (Mientras Duermes) literally the nightmare is under you!Under your bed!For the past few years Balaguero has been recognised as one half of the creative team that delivered [Rec] Franchise (Paco Plaza the other), now he is proving he can create something more than found footage with bloodthirsty zombies.

Cesar (Luis Tosar) is a recently appointed concierge of an affluent apartment block in Barcelona, Spain.He’s a man incapable of happiness who becomes hellbent on making the residents feel the wraith of his pain, anger but it’s one person particular who becomes the target of his obsession Clara (Marta Etura), the blocks most cheerful resident.She becomes his prime target of sabotage but most of all  Cesar’s unexplained revenge.

Within the first few minutes of the films, we know all is not well. Opening up with a fairly innocent  the scene which shows Cesar waking up getting ready to go to work, but who is that next to him? Clara! When night comes around again it’s then we realise Clara has not consented to what’s happening to her when we see   Cesar crawls under her bed waiting for her to call it a night and sleep with his beloved. But why Clara?

Why does he make her life hell, send her poison, text messages, sabotage her cosmetics,  strategically position rotten fruit around her flat to attract even more unwelcome visitors of the creepy crawly variety? But just as things start to look like their going to plan for Cesar another unexpected person enter’s Clara’s life, her boyfriend forcing him to move to plan B.

Luis Tosar is the star attraction in Sleep Tight delivering a fantastic central performance that’s up there with the best amongst the film’s genre. I don’t to say this but it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood comes beckoning on Senor Tosar’s door which may not be a bad thing, he is like Spain’s answer to Vincent Cassel. He play’s the part of Cesar so well: Cold, calculating sociopath who is disturbed on all levels.

Balaguero has created a classic neo-Hitchcockian thriller that will force you to go against all conventions and share the film from Cesar’s perspective. Even when it looks like it’s all over for Cesar you actually get a feeling you don’t want him to be caught and when he’s trapped like in one scene of the film you actually feel the tension as he attempts to flee when all odds are against him.

When Sociopaths like Cesar are at ‘work’ majority of them their objectives are usually of a sexual nature however with Cesar there’s a shroud of mystery behind why he does what he does. You even left questioning the woman he visits at the local hospital she is regarded as his mother you wonder if she is really his mother, not another victim that he’s making sure   the only way she’ll leave the hospital is in a coffin

Sleep Tight is a captivating film that’s full of atmosphere a disturbing piece of film that’s masterfully suspenseful. Director Balaguero has created a superb satisfying spine tingler that will keep you gripped from start to finish whilst it teases your voyeuristic desires into the open.

★★★★ |Paul Devine

Horror, Thriller | Spain, 2011 | 18 | 4th March 2013 (UK) | 19th February 2013 Glasgow Film Festival |Metrodome Distribution | Dir.Jaume Balagueró | Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Pep Tosar | Buy: DVD

Originally posted at Cinehouse | 4th March 2013

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