The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Sleep Tight | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Sleep Tight

Directed by: Jaume Balaguero
Starring: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura, Alberto San Juan

The concierge of an apartment building develops an obsession with a female tenant.

Cesar (Tosar) lives an unfulfilled life, telling us in the movie's opening of his inability to find happiness. He works as the concierge of a high class Barcelona apartment building where, outwardly at least, he enjoys good relations with the tenants, who find him helpful and charming. Unbeknownst to them, with the exception of a young girl whose silence he buys, Cesar is obsessed with a female tenant, Clara (Etura). Each night he uses his keys to sneak into Clara's apartment, hiding under her bed until she falls asleep, at which point he chloroforms her, spending the night with in bed with her lifeless body. When Clara begins to bring home her boyfriend Marcos (San Juan), things become a lot more complicated for Cesar.
Spanish director Balaguero burst onto the international scene as one half of the directing team behind 'Rec', one of the few genuinely impressive entries in the much derided found footage cycle. He and his directing partner, Paco Plaza, went on to give us the equally impressive sequel, 'Rec 2' but the duo decided to go their seperate ways, with Plaza taking the reigns for 'Rec 3: Genesis'. With that movie being an absolute disaster, many of us pondered whether Balaguero was the one with all the talent, a Simon to Plaza's Garfunkel. On the evidence of 'Sleep Tight', Balaguero's first movie post-split, it seems we were correct to assume so.
Along with screenwriter Alberto Marini, Balaguero gives us a deliciously dark thriller in the vein of classic Hitchcock. As with 'Rec', the action takes place in an apartment building whose tenants resemble the characters from 'Rear Window', while the concierge is a direct descendant of Norman Bates. Like Hitch, Balaguero has the ability to make us pull for a character who we should find completely despicable. The movie's strongest set-piece occurs when Clara brings home her new lover, unaware Cesar is waiting under the bed. The couple's lovemaking shakes the bed, releasing a vial of chloroform onto Cesar. Watching him try to squirm his way out of this precarious situation is the most suspenseful sequence I've enjoyed in quite a while. The film ends rather weakly but there's enough tension throughout to satisfy the most demanding of suspense fans.