Haiku Revu: Sleep Tight

My haiku review of Sleep Tight:

Catalan concierge
Makes unhappy bedfellow
But adept stalker.

The rest of this review might contain spoilers… just go and watch this film now, then come back and read the review. You really won’t regret it.

Cesar (played by Luis Tosar), a careful Catalonian concierge cannot conceive how he can be happy and as a result becomes the perfect definition of a misanthropist. As the movie unwinds he takes great care in picking apart the peaceful existence of the tenants in his apartment block. By destroying their happiness he can at least feel content even if he can never be actually happy. As he spreads chaos around him, one resident appears immune to his actions and remains in high spirits despite the turmoil she finds herself in. Unfortunately as Clara (played by Marta Etura) remains resilient Cesar pours more energy and effort into finding ways to break her resolve.

Originally shown on Sunday at Frightfest 2012 this twisted study in psychopathy was one of my films of the festival. It was a tense thriller without the blood and guts often associated with the Director, Jaume Balagueró ([REC]), which slowly ratcheted up the intensity as we understood exactly what Cesar was willing to do to fulfil his twisted obsession. Luis Tosar played the role superbly, humanising the inhuman, and prevented the character from devolving into a cardboard cutout villain. As the film started I felt a certain amount of affection for the concierge which slowly turned to horror as he blossomed into a monster. The logic of his behaviour was horrendous, and the storyline followed him into new territory which few films in the genre have managed to tread. With the view firmly with the antagonist it felt like you had been tricked into in some way sanctioning the behaviour played out on the screen.

One of the reasons I’ve liked horror movies since I was a teenager, was the idea that what you’re seeing is so extreme that it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever experience anything close to the same pattern in everyday life. By exposing your cortex to a simulation of horrific events you’re getting a virtual inoculation, that should push come to shove and something along similar lines unfold around you, may have delivered a precedent you can use to help you along. Whilst not a particularly healthy tenet to live by if you happen to work for the CDC and start reacting to new bacterial infections in the population with a Triple Tap, it would pay dividends here. Sleep Tight was so well scripted and well wrought that I found myself thinking how I could have done any better than the protagonists in the story. There were none of the usual logical flaws inserted to keep the storyline flowing that we would see in the shelf space shared in your virtual film store… no get-out-of-jail card played to keep the villain around to the final reel. Inoculation in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a rash of people purchasing motion detecting cameras straight after seeing this film.

Definitely one of the best films that I’ve seen in a few years. A checking-under-your-bed-for-the-rest-of-your-life two thumbs up, I would highly recommend giving this film a couple of hours of your time.

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