Sleep Tight – 2011
Dir. Jaume Balaguero – 102 minutes
Release Date UK – 1st March 2013
Cesar is the concierge in an apartment block in Barcelona , he is unhappy , he has an angry boss who seems to pick at him at every opportunity , a sick mother who he visits daily and also he is infatuated with Clara who lives in the block.
I won’t go into too many details of the film as it would be laden with spoilers . But what I will say is this is a masterpiece of suspense.
Cesar is wonderfully played by Luis Tosar (Cell 211) , he is obsessed by Clara (Marta Etura also Cell 211) and the lengths he goes to to be close to her and in her life get more extreme and disturbing as the film progresses. Cesar is a modern day boogeyman , a human monster in plain view and Tosar plays this to absolute chilling effect.
Seeing the world through Cesar’s eyes you start to almost like him even empathise with him and through Balaguero’s great direction he turns a mentally unstable sociopath into almost an antihero and you then start to dislike the pleasant bouncy always happy demeanor of Clara who is the victim here and through no fault of her own . Her one crime is she just happens to live in a block where the superintendent who has access to every room is probably not in the correct line of work.
The tension builds slowly through the film and a feeling of claustrophobia increases towards a wonderful finale , the film runs at around 100 mins and it just flew by. It is not the easiest watch at times but then that is what a good horror/thriller can do, unnerve you unease you , I even felt dirty watching at times but a hugely fulfilling watch.
This is a real pleasure to watch and reminiscent of Hitchcock at his best , it also shows how Balaguero (REC) can direct in an apartment block with as different a film from REC as possible but with as good a film if not better . He really has shown here that he continues to grow and improve with each film he directs.
I think it is down to Balaguero and writer Alberto Marini that you can root for Cesar even though he is so ruthlessly psychotic.
Finally there is a lovely role of Ursula (Iris Almeida) who is a little spoilt girl who lives in the flat opposite Clara and is holding Cesar to ransom. She knows what he is up to and wants payment for her silence , which is a wonderful little subplot .
Sleep Tight is a great Spanish suspense thriller and deserves as wide an audience as possible . And watch this in the Spanish language with subtitles , don’t ever fall for a dubbed version (which I hear may be out there) .
A wonderful tense drama that should be seen on a big screen 8.5/10
This is a must see and many thanks to the guys at Grimmfest who put this on the big screen before its release – check out their forthcoming shows and please support them and what they are doing in Manchester and Stockport UK .