Sleep Tight

Jaime Balaguero's Sleep Tight
Jaime Balaguero's Sleep Tight
Sleep Tight
Sleep Tight

Spanish title: Mientras duermes
Country: Spain
2011
Genre: Horror
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Produced by Carlos Fernández, Julio Fernández, Alberto Marini, Carla Pérez de Albéniz (production director), Elisa Salinas (associate producer) for Minetras Duermes A.I.E (99%), Castelao Pictures S.L. (1%)
Story and screenplay: Alberto Marini
Music: Lucas Vidal
Cinematographer: Pablo Rosso
Editor: Guillermo De La Cal
Art director: Javier Alvariño
Cast: Luis Tosar (César), Marta Etura (Clara), Alberto San Juan (Marcos), Petra Martínez (Sra. Verónica), Iris Almeida (Úrsula), Carlos Lasarte (Vecino 4ºB), Amparo Fernández (Mujer de la limpieza), Roger Morilla (Joven de la limpieza), Pep Tosar (Padre de Úrsula), Margarita Roset (Madre de César), Ruben Ametllé (Trabajador Oficina 1), Manel Dueso (Comisario), Tony Corvillo (Policía 1), Ricard Sadurní (Policía 2), Xavier Pujolràs (Policía 3), Oriol Genís (Administrador), Iker López (Hermano de Úrsula), Dolors Vidal (Madre de Clara), Patricia Arredondo (Criada), Xavier Calvet (Trabajador Oficina 2)
Spanish takings: €3.585.106,21
Spanish spectators: 559,681
Spanish subsidies: Ayudas a la Amortización de Largometrajes – General (€1.777.100,00)
Budget: $5,000,000 (estimated)

Synopsis

Cesar (Luis Tosar) is the porter at an exclusive apartment block in Barcelona who also happens to be a manic depressive who can only find meaning in life by making other people just as glum as he is. He sets about bringing misery to the assorted tenants he serves in any way he can, but his prime target is the relentlessly upbeat Clara (Marta Etura), who he torments in an escalating campaign which includes: poison pen letters, injecting cosmetics with irritants, infesting her appartment with cockroaches, drugging her nightly, sleeping in her bed and… well, you get the picture.

Review

Jaume Balagueró has been one of the most consistent directors of horror films in recent years and has done much to reanimate the genre in Spain with films like The Nameless and Fragile. In recent years he has been tied up with the [Rec] franchise, effectively scary films that – apart from the first in the series – seemed to lack the spooky atmosphere and undercurrents of evil that was so notable in his earlier work. Sleep Tight, however, is one of his best works; a really nasty little film about a very creepy man.

The really troubling thing about this is that the film is almost entirely shot from the perspective of the monstrous Cesar so, for instance, you start wanting him to avoid capture despite the fact that he’s so awful. It’s relentlessly tense and very, very manipulative; but you can’t fault the cleverness with which it’s made, the technical credentials or the quite superb performance of the beetle-browed Tosar. Unpleasantly excellent.

Rating: 9/10

Review by Matt Blake, 2015

What the critics said

“Jaume Balagueró directed [Rec], a highly effective horror film largely confined to a block of gloomy Barcelona flats plagued by carnivorous zombies. His new movie, Sleep Tight, is a psychological thriller set in a slightly superior but shabby art nouveau apartment house, also in Barcelona, which is at the mercy of an embittered concierge… An unrelievedly nightmarish film.” Philip French, The Observer. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/mar/03/sleep-tight-review

“Balagueró directs at a steady tempo, on key and in tune with his lead’s contained performance. With his boom-mike eyebrows, sunken eyes and Beluga-whale forehead, Luis Tosar has the look of an Iberian Boris Karloff, and the film feeds off his wounded presence. A taut, twisted thriller, if it’s not a word-of-mouth hit, Sleep Tight at least deserves a whisper.” Simon Crook, Empire.

“Balabueró and his crew do an excellent job of raising the stakes for Cesar, putting him in jeopardy and forcing us to root for him to escape discovery. Less convincing, perhaps, is the psychological justification that eventually emerges: A mental health professional might reject the script’s cause and effect as facile and unrealistic, but it does the job in this context, creating a thoroughly watchable villain whose crimes offer just enough vicarious gratification to leave viewers feeling dirty.” John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter.

Quotes

“After the experience of [REC], which was set up to be very intense physical horror in both plot and pacing, I felt the need to return to a more conventional and calculated film. The script for Sleep Tight came to me at just the right time. It was the perfect opportunity to develop a classic story and to explore horror from a more conventional sense. Being calmer, it allowed me to create a much more sophisticated brand of suspense ? with classic elements of conventional film language, such as its music, editing, and staging.”
Shock Interview: Jaume Balaguero on Sleep Tight, ComingSoon.net

Notes and further information

IMDB.
Wikipedia.

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