FANTASTIC FEST 2011
By Don Simpson | September 27, 2011
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Writer: Alberto Marini
Starring: Luis Tosar, Marta Etur, Alberto San Juana, Iris Almeida
César (Luis Tosar) is a very unhappy guy and while he works as a doorman in a gorgeous Barcelona apartment building he clandestinely desires to make all of the tenants of the building as unhappy as he is… But will being surrounded by unhappy people really make César happy?
Clara (Marta Etura) is clearly going to be César’s most difficult victim. Strangely enough, we first meet César as he wakes up in bed next to this beautiful and glowing twenty-something woman. He sneaks out of Clara’s apartment just after 5:00am without waking her. Later that morning, when Clara arrives in the lobby of the building, she meets César with a truly radiant smile. Clara and César? There is something fishy going on here.
It is not until the next night that we gain a better understanding of César and Clara’s relationship. Unfortunately, I need to stop right here because revealing any more details would truly ruin the increasingly creepy experience of Sleep Tight.
Balagueró forces the audience into a very odd position because at some very calculated times it is incredibly difficult not to root for César — who is both the anti-hero and the villain of Sleep Tight — no matter how sick and twisted he seems. The camera, too, conveys César’s mental state as it slowly unravels into a visually frenetic and unhinged montage of events. By the end of Sleep Tight, I felt pretty darn disgusted with myself for ever feeling any sympathy for César — but that right there is the key to Balagueró’s directorial genius.
Certainly much different from Balagueró’s REC franchise, Sleep Tight is a thrilling yet emotional rollercoaster ride and by no means a horror flick. That is not to say it is not frightening — I can practically guarantee that all of the ladies in the audience will never go to sleep again without first checking under their bed.