Jaume Balaguero has really had an interesting career so far, among the highlights were the first two [REC] films, among the negatives are The Fragile, The Nameless and Darkness. With [REC] I feel he made the found footage exciting, with Sleep Tight he is out to prove he can give us an intense, slow burn film that will get us talking long after we hit the stop button. Sleep Tight starts off with the story of Cesar who is a concierge at a apartment building in Barcelona, that looks like it could be the setting for the next [REC] film. We learn he is some kind of depressed individual who is basically unable to be happy, even during so called happy moments of his life. We learn that Cesar has a disdain for people who are happy around him, this manâ€™s sole mission it seems like is to make everyone as suicidal and depressed as he is. He seems to have a unhealthy lust on a woman tenant named Clara. To Cesar, she is the opposite of him, she is happy and loves her life, which Cesar has to put a stop to. So Cesar starts to do a few things that are disturbing and very cruel to get her to be just like him. The film also has a young pre-teen girl in the building who is on to what Cesar does and blackmails him with getting her things like money and porn. Also he has a bed ridden mother that he tells her about what he is doing to Clara, and she just sits there in almost a coma state.
This film seems inspired by Hitchcockâ€™s earlier works that were so slow building because you get to see the descent from normalcy unto this madness abyss the villain goes into. Cesar employs methods like spending his nights under her bed waiting till she falls asleep then he uses some kind of Chloroform to keep her knocked out while he tries to destroy her life, by raping her, by putting something in her face cream to give her an allergic reaction, causing a bug infestation in her place, and sending her stalking letters and making phone calls to her. Any time this woman has any kind of happiness in her life, he robs her of it. This film is intense, there is a scene in the film where Clara and her boyfriend fall asleep in bed and Cesar knocks them both out, and while the boyfriend is knocked out beside him, Cesar is having sex with his girlfriend. This film makes you feel uncomfortable from start to finish, there is not minute in this film that you sit there and feel relieved, all the way to the end of this film it keeps you on edge as to what this guy will do next and just how low can he sink. Cesar is the perfect monster, you never suspect him because he always puts up this front that makes us wonder that if we truly know everyone in our lives. This film is unforgiving and the ending is such a punch in the gut that you sit there and think about it long after you take this out of your player. The performances were perfect, the tone and feel of the film will sucker you in, the pacing was perfect, this film is going to grab you by your throat and squeeze, and squeeze till the very last second, and then squeeze even harder. The bed bugs are no longer your worry after you watch this film.
8 out of 10