Sleep Tight (Mientras Duermes) (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner01/03/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Impressively directed and superbly written, this is a thoroughly gripping and deeply disturbing Spanish chiller with a terrific central performance from Luis Tosar. It's also, for my money, one of the best films of the year.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jaume Balaguero (one of the co-directors of [REC]), Sleep Tight (or Mientras Duermes, meaning While You Sleep, original title fans) stars Luis Tosar as Cesar, the concierge of a Barcelona apartment building. Cesar spends his days secretly tormenting his rich tenants (notably Petra Martinez as a dog-loving old lady) and displays a remarkable ability to wriggle out of any situation, especially when caught in the act by teen neighbour Ursula (Iris Almeida Molina).

It soon becomes clear that in addition to his various schemes, Cesar is nursing a dangerous obsession for Clara (Marta Etura), an attractive young tenant whose boyfriend Marcos (Alberto San Juan) is frequently out of town. Indeed, Cesar's daily routine seems to involve hiding under Clara's bed, drugging her and then sleeping next to her for the night...

The Good
Luis Tosar is terrific as Cesar, somehow retaining our sympathy for the character despite his multiple nefarious acts – in true Hitchcockian fashion, we even end up rooting for him not to get caught. Tosar, to be fair, has pulled off this trick before, notably in the excellent domestic abuse drama Take My Eyes; he has a unique, even hypnotic ability to find sympathy in even the most monstrous of characters. Marta Etura is equally good as Clara and there's strong support from Alberto San Juan as well as colourful turns from Petra Martinez and Iris Almeida Molina.

The deliciously dark script keeps you guessing throughout as you never really know what Cesar is up to and are constantly marvelling at his continual close shaves. To that end, Balaguero maintains a nail-bitingly tense atmosphere that keeps you constantly on the edge of your seat, though there's also a streak of jet-black humour running through the film that works well.

The Great
As well as providing a fascinating and riveting study of obsession, the film is both genuinely creepy and deeply disturbing; if this was a mainstream movie there would be tabloid horror stories as to whether it could really happen. As it is, it's hard to watch this film without considering running out and buying a chain for your door afterwards (especially if you live in an apartment building).

Worth seeing?
Superbly made and brilliantly acted, Sleep Tight is a terrific Spanish chiller that is well worth seeking out. Highly recommended.

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Sleep Tight (Mientras Duermes) (15)
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Content updated: 23/09/2018 01:10

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