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Sleep Tight (2011)

Dark Sky Films
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/8/2013

All Ratings out of




Review by Mike Long, Posted on 1/7/2013

In the past decade or so, we've seen a real resurgence in European horror movies, specifically those coming out of Spain and France. While the French films show a definite bend towards blood and violence, the Spanish entries are often more somber and typically deal with the supernatural. Movies like [Rec], The Orphanage, and The Others have shown that gothic frights and modern plots aren't enemies and the creative, intelligent horror movies will find their audience. One director to emerge from this movement is Jaume Balaguero, who has been making horror movies since 1999. With entries like Fragile and Darkness, he showed some promise, but it wasn't until he co-directed [Rec] and [Rec]2 that his star really began to shine. Balaguero stepped away from [Rec]3: Genesis to focus on his latest film, Sleep Tight. Will he do OK being on his own again?

Sleep Tight takes place in an apartment building where Cesar (Luis Tosar) is the concierge. He lives in the basement and reports to the front desk every morning. Some of the tenants, such as Veronica (Petra Martinez), like him, while others, such as Vecino (Carlos Lasarte) don't. Cesar focuses extra attention on Clara (Marta Etura) and always asks about her day and helps her with the door. But, that's not all that he does. Every night, Cesar sneaks into Clara's apartment and hides under her bed until she goes to sleep. He then drugs her and lies in bed with her, leaving in time to get to the desk. Clara awakens feeling groggy. As if this weren't bad enough, Cesar also sends her harassing letters and sabotages things in her apartment. Will Clara ever learn the truth as to what is going on?

Wow, Balaguero should've stuck with the [Rec] franchise. As he didn't, we are now stuck with two disappointing movie. [Rec]3: Genesis diverted from the series formula and suffered for it and Sleep Tight is simply a bad movie which has nothing original to say.

Or perhaps screenwriter Alberto Marini is to blame. He's worked with Balaguero in the past, but this is only his second feature-length screenplay. I don't know, maybe the idea of stalkers is new in Spain, but the bulk of Sleep Tight plays like many, many American movies which we've seen (and some Italian ones, come to think of it). The idea of the stalker who actually knows his prey and is nice to their face, but does dirty things in secret has been done many times before. We most recently saw this in The Resident, and Sleep Tight contains the requisite "How did you get in here?" and "How did you know that?" moments. It's like The Cable Guy, but a lot less funny.

There are also issues with the emotional emphases in the film. When the movie opens, in a decidedly clever manner, Cesar has already been sneaking into Clara's apartment for quite some time, so we learn little about how this obsession began or why it continues. We see Cesar confessing to his bed-ridden mother (Margarita Rosed), in what is an obvious attempt to give him that Psycho-like slant, where he's a misunderstood mama's boy. There are also several moments where Cesar could get caught which are meant to be fraught with suspense. The problem with this is that I wanted Cesar to get caught. It's a true pet peeve of mine that movies ask us to side with the villain and these moments completely fall flat because of that. And then we have some of the odd things which Cesar does to Clara. I won't give anything away, but one of the things he does to torment her, results in him having to do a lot of work in her apartment. Was this just another excuse to be near her things, which he could do anytime that he wants? These scenes didn't ring true at all.

In the end, Sleep Tight is boring and tedious. While what Cesar is doing is clearly perverted and wrong, we never get that guilt-ridden vicarious thrill by watching his stalk Clara. He simply goes through the motions and we watch, hoping for something truly interesting to happen. Is the idea of someone hiding under your bed unnerving? Of course it is, but Balaguero does little to make this scary. This is all about a sick man torturing a woman. Again the opening scene is well-done and the third act offers a twist which is more surprising than shocking, but otherwise, the movie is a chore to finish. Balaguero needs to run screaming back to supernatural horror and hopefully we will all soon awaken from this nightmare.

Sleep Tight will have you checking under your bed...for a better movie on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Dark Sky Films. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only trace amounts of grain at times and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly bright or dark, despite the nighttime shots in Clara's apartment. The daytime scenes have a nice crispness to them, which brings in a lot of depth. The level of detail is good as well. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects and the English subtitles are easy to read. Despite the high bitrate, this is a somewhat subdued track, due to the nature of the film. The track does deliver good stereo effects which show nice separation. The track makes us aware of sounds from all over, most notably in the lobby, through the surround speakers. The third act provides a few scenes where the subwoofer gets involved. The audio is competent, but never overwhelming.

The Sleep Tight Blu-ray Disc contains only three extras. "Sleep Tight: Cesar's World" (108 minutes) is a feature-length documentary which is actually longer than the movie itself. The piece explores many facets of the film, including the script development, the casting, and the shooting of the film. Balaguero guides us through this feature, and we also get comments from Martini and the cast. We also get a look at the production design, the visual effects, and the film's score. The Disc contains seven DELETED SCENES which run about 13 minutes. All of these show Cesar doing more weird things, such as stalking and collecting trinkets. The final extra is a TRAILER for the film.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.