Review: 'Sleep Tight'

By: Heather Seebach

As children, we always looked under the bed or in the closet for monsters. As adults, we gave up the ritual because we realized, well, that is ridiculous. Jaume Balagueró's latest thriller Sleep Tight reminds us that sometimes monsters come in a form we least expect, and perhaps we should never stop checking under the bed.

 Apartment concierge César (Luis Tosar) is loved by all the tenants in his building. He holds their doors, delivers their mail, unclogs their sinks, watches their pets, and greets them with a smile every morning. So nobody would ever suspect friendly César is secretly manipulating everyone for his own sick pleasure. He is particularly fixated on a happy-go-lucky young tenant named Clara (Marta Etura) who he persistently torments without her knowledge.

Jaume Balagueró is best known as half the directing team behind the fantastic [REC] and [REC]2. Those films took two very tired sub-genres (zombie and found-footage) and reaffirmed their worth in horror cinema. Here, Balagueró proves he is more than just a shaky, POV cameraman with this taut psychological thriller. Right from the opening scene, Sleep Tight is intriguing, disturbing, and darkly funny. 

The twisted concierge César is equal parts creepy and sympathetic. No matter how depraved his actions get, you will inevitably find yourself rooting for him. The film is shaped such that César is the protagonist, so we the viewer get a rare glimpse into the mind of a sadist. Luis Tosar is great in the role, delivering just the right amount of charm and vulnerability to make this psychopath relatable.

Sleep Tight is not a scary film persay but it is undeniably tense and unsettling. The very idea of a person having complete access to your home, and the ability to do things to you in your sleep, is horrifying. The film also turns a mirror on its audience at times. When César slides himself under an innocent girl's bed, our first reaction is shock and disgust, but then we are holding our breath for fear he'll be caught! 

This flick came out last year around the same time as Hammer Films' very similar The Resident. That film was about landlord Jeffrey Dean Morgan stalking his tenant Hilary Swank. Coincidence or not, Sleep Tight blows that one out of the water, and promises to keep you checking under the box-spring for years to come. 
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