Spanish powerhouse director Jaume Balagueró returns with his latest film about obsession and psychological torment.
The director, who seems unwilling to become routed within any-one subgenre changes direction once again, his previous efforts being a spooky ghost story in Fragile and the massively popular POV zombie-fest REC, show little influence in this movie, which oddly bears more of a resemblance to some of the lesser known 1980s home invasion movies such as ‘Eyes of a stranger’.
The plot of Sleep Tight follows one slightly unbalanced caretaker, César, whose obsession with one of the buildings resident’s spirals well beyond professional limits. The plot focuses purely on character, and, up to the standard we have come to expect of Balaguero, the cast has been skilfully chosen with actor Lois Tosar bringing his character to life with un-nerving believability. His body language and expressions only subtly hinting at the psychological issue you struggle to put your finger on, which is intermittently told in one of the movies subplots. Attention to detail is everything in this movie and aside from the genuinely unnerving ‘home invasion’ element of the movie its clammy claustrophobic cinematography helps to suck you into the world of desperation and depravity. Much of the film is shot in the buildings, with the grey drab décor (in stark contrast to the movies few vibrant outdoor scenes) offering a continually depressive mood which serve to compliment some of the movies more poignant scenes.
Balagueró is not a director I would class as particularly concerned with reserve, and whilst Sleep Tight never loses the thread of realism its success hinges on, the acts of César are not merely hinted at. There is just the right amount of voyeurism and disregard for dignity to make you feel a little uncomfortable when watching, and when it’s made to feel as feasible as it is in this movie, there is little need for any ridiculous cat and mouse showdowns many of these movies transcend to by their conclusion; indeed the climax of the movie is quite the opposite and all the more effective for it.
When this movie is firing on all cylinders the pace is lightning quick, and some of the movies standout sequences literally leave you feeling quite breathless. On the flip side, when it wants you to feel it, the pace slows and the mood changes from thrilling to depressive; this ability to make your own emotions mirror what you are viewing is all the praise a psychological thriller needs and overall, ‘Sleep Tight’ is a movie which I would encourage any fan of the genre to view. Its Spanish language will see it only make a limited imprint on the UK market, and perhaps, as with REC. a remake will be shortly in the works, but it deserves to be rated highly none the less.