Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fantastic Fest 2011 movie review- SLEEP TIGHT- She said

Directed by: Jaume Balaguero
Written by: Alberto Marini
Starring: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, and Alberto San Juan
Synopsis: A doorman at a local residential complex has a dark obsession with one of the tenants.

In 2007,  Jaume Balaguero made a splash with genre fans with the co-directing the [REC] movies. However, most of America's mainstream audiences didn't see this awesome horror movie; they were subjected to the shot-for-shot American remake, QUARANTINE. But that's neither here nor there.  Now, Balaguero has stepped out on his own for SLEEP TIGHT; another solid thriller but with much less "undead" action.  

Here the focus is on Cesar; a bleak and lonely doorman at a local Barcelona residential complex. He's a hard worker, makes sure you have the morning paper, and will feed your dogs if you're going to be out. However, he can be a tad obsessive. He has an unhealthy crush on one of his tenants, Clara. Unhealthy in sense of knowing her schedule, sleeping under her bed, and using her shower type of unhealthy.  Super creepy, and super weird.  

The plot is something we've seen before and doesn't develop into anything particularly ground-breaking. However, the tone Balaguero created was so ominous and heavy that it keeps you entranced the whole time. Even though Cesar clearly has a problem, you couldn't help but feel a little remorseful for the man. His life seemed utterly meaningless, trivial and downright depressing. We're not given much of Cesar's back story, which could have been a detriment to the movie; however, actor Luis Tosar is able to create a diabolical character. Even though his character seems quiet and timid, the subtleties of an unstable maniac Tosar brought to Cesar were fantastic.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, young and spirited Clara has caught Cesar's eye for a long time. Clara brought a light into his dull world, but he has a warped idea of what personal space means. When we first following Cesar during his nightly routine, it is established that he has had this routine for a while. Some of his rituals made my skin crawl and made me want to look at cute pictures of puppies afterwards.

What was most strange yet somewhat interesting was there were certain moments that the audience actually felt for his character. Balaguero put Cesar in some dire situations (which you can totally see coming based on the story), but the story is so engrossing by that point, the audience switched sides.  Takes pretty crafty film maker with a dynamic character for that situation to be pulled off.

SLEEP TIGHT was a solid entry into the friend-turned-stalker genre of films.  Within the first act of the film, the tense mood is established and never backs off until the end.  A creepy thriller that will have you looking under your bed and checking the shower before going to sleep. 

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