Sunday 17 March 2013

Review: Sleep Tight

Year: 2011 (U.K DVD release 2013)
Director: Jaume Balaguero
Screenplay: Alberto Marini 
Starring: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura

Synopsis is here

My girlfriend is quite weary about some of the "darker" films I end up watching. She is in no way a fan of being scared, frighten or creeped out in the slightest. Because of this, I have a mental list of movies that I remind myself that I shouldn't watch in her presence. Soon after finishing Jaume Balaguero's (REC) disturbing Spanish thriller; Sleep Tight, I quickly added the film to the top of an ever growing list. She doesn't need this in her life. 

Sleep Tight plays out as if Balaguero invaded the head of my other half, scooped out a few of her primal fears (home invasion being a large one) and laid them out delicately for all to see. We wholeheartedly embrace the notion that we are safe when we are cuddled up under the covers of our comfy beds blissfully unaware of the world around us. Beleguero pounces on our nativity and drags us through the wringer with a film that takes absolute delight in its unsettling nature. 

Part of what brings the fear is the simplicity of the situation. We quickly take notice of the ease and access that Cesar (Tosar) has as the apartment concierge. He has to ability to enter any room with the apartment whenever he wishes. The glint of his eye as he lies under a bed is disconcerting. Those with a personally disorder often display superficial charm. Cesar pulls off politeness in a blink of an eye. No one seems to be aware of him being dishonest in any way. Sleep Tight makes you aware of tiny moments that don't sit right. What's scary is that in the same position, we'd be just as blissfully unaware as the happy go lucky Clara (Etura), the unfortunate target of Cesar's extreme behaviour. 

Balaguero delivers a compact and tightly wound project. While it doesn't hold the hectic nature of his earlier work; REC (2007), the film burns down at a swift pace, hitting all its disturbing beats with a satisfying thump. Negative reviews may wish to seek out a more solid rationale for Cesar's madness, but we shouldn’t forget just how much more troubling such habits can be when the reasoning behind it is so vague. If after watching Sleep Tight you second guess the politeness of a colleague or give the bed a quick check before going to bed, then the film has done its job.