October 27, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Sleep Tight'

Sleep Tight (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

If director Jaume Balaguero is to be believed, you will probably won’t to avoid taking up residency in a Spanish apartment building. One half of the team that closed off an entire building, due to it problem with zombie-like creatures, in the first two [REC] movies, Balaguero is back in an apartment building and this time he will be happy with nothing less than terrifying you in Sleep Tight.

Whereas the [REC] movies took a more visceral approach to their on-screen horror, Sleep Tight is a creepy as all hell descent into one man’s obsessions that will take up residency in your mind and lay waste to your perceptions of security and privacy. I will endeavor to be as cryptically vague as I can with regards to the plot, as this is yet another film that works best when you go in cold.

What I will reveal about the film, in terms of plot, is that Cesar (Luis Tosar) is the concierge of a Barcelona apartment building. He greets the residents and goes out of his way to help them, even when they are completely unappreciative of his actions. Cesar is the epitome of caring, and is utterly charming, yet underneath the surface lies a darkness that consumes him, a darkness that finds him unable to be happy. This results in the Cesar, whom the residents don’t see, playing an incredibly dangerous game; one that will play right into most people’s fears, especially one resident in particular.

Balguero has crafted an incredibly simple, but truly effective thriller, in Sleep Tight. With Cesar, he has created a character that you will care about, in fact more so than that, as you will actually end up sympathizing with him, regardless of his actions. Credit here is down to the excellent script and a truly wonderful performance from Luis Tosar. Tosar brings a control and passion to his performance that slowly unravels as the film progresses, but Balaguero never completely lets go of the reins. This makes it all the more terrifying.

Visually the film looks wonderful, with the apartment building looking both spacious and claustrophobic at the same time. And, despite the film’s title, the action is not confined to the nocturnal; there is no respite when the sun comes up, with some of the most atmospheric scenes being in broad daylight.

To call Sleep Tight a horror film would probably be unfair, only due to the fact that it would lay a certain expectation from the viewer. There are horrific moments, and one of the film’s goals is to tap into everyday fears, but also to call it a thriller might also do it an injustice. Hell, I’m terrible with categorizing films, but I will just say that Sleep Tight takes elements of horror, thrillers and drama and squeezes them into something quite spellbinding.

The cast are all a joy to watch, with the aforementioned Luis Tosar being the absolute star. However, all performances here are pitch-perfect and totally believable. The eagle-eyed among you might even spot another Tosar, with Pep Tosar of the notorious Nacho Cerda short, Aftermath, popping up for a scene or two.

Overall, Sleep Tight takes what could be a very slow-moving and predictable story, and moves it along into something quite different, totally gripping and one that will have you thinking that bed bugs are the least of your worries whilst you sleep.

Sleep Tight is available on VOD and at select theaters now, and is released by Dark Sky Films.

1 comment:

Mary Kirkland said...

Sounds really good. And now I understand your comment on fb about not trusting anyone with this guys last name. LOL