"Director Jaume Balagueró delivers an incredibly tense and terrifying movie experience"

After co directing with Paco Plaza on horror films [REC] and [REC] 2,  Spanish director Jaume Balagueró was looking to try his hand at something a little different, eventually Sleep Tight landed on his desk and Balagueró was sold.

It might seem amusing that once again Balagueró is making a film set in a Spanish apartment block but Sleep Tight couldn’t be further from the [REC] films. Where [REC] was more of a fast paced horror, with it’s energetic faux documentary style capturing the chaos of a viral outbreak. Sleep Tight is a far more intimate, and meditative film, a slow burning narrative that gradually builds in tension and uneasiness like a twisting piece of metal, you can feel the pressure as it convulses... just waiting for it to snap.

Sleep Tight is by no means an out and out horror in the same way that [REC] is, but I would definitely classify it in the horror genre, in many ways it's more scary than [REC] I would liken it to a film like Almadovar’s The Skin I Live In, as it deals with very real possibilities, and plausible characters that could easily exist.

The story follows Cesar, the friendly concierge of an up market apartment block. Following a day by day structure we witness Cesar going about his business, sorting out the post, cleaning, welcoming residents and waving them off,  it all seems quite normal until the first night when we realise the woman Cesar woke up with that morning, a resident in the building Miss Clara (Marta Etura), is not in fact his girlfriend, nor does she have any idea she is spending her nights with Cesar.

From there the story becomes an increasingly uneasy series of events, as night by night Cesar waits under Clara’s bed until she is asleep, knocking her out with chloroform Cesar is free to tamper with her flat. Part of the intrigue lies in the fact, we’re not entirely sure what he’s up to,  as the days progress his methods becoming more and more sinister, not to mention the fact he regularly pays visits to his hospitalized mother with updates.

The character of Cesar is played masterfully by Spanish actor, Luis Tosar who has the ability to portray a man both vulnerable and almost pathetic, yet at the same time an absolute monster who takes great pleasure in making Clara’s life a living hell. I last saw Tosar in the brilliant prison drama Cell 211, where he played alpha male Malamadre, and was quite frankly terrifying as the volatile inmate. Here he plays a much calmer character, with an undertone of desperation and obsession.

Weirdly I actually found myself rooting for Cesar,  in one scene as he waits under Clara’s bed he accidentally spills the chloroform! Slowly slipping unconscious it’s a race against time for Cesar to try and get out of the flat before passing out, only he never makes it and is awoken in Clara’s shower! Cue another nail biting sequence as Cesar attempts to exit the flat whilst evading capture.

Director Jaume Balagueró delivers an incredibly tense and terrifying movie experience, a film that really gets under the skin, in more ways than one! His background in horror films serves him well to create a genuinely disturbing piece of cinema that will make you question the motives of the even the most friendly and polite people, and really exploits the idea of those individuals we put our trust in and turns the concept on its head with chilling consequences.