Sleep Tight [Mientras duermes]

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There aren’t too many movies in which you are asked to feel empathy towards a stalker, especially when you repeatedly witness the disturbing depths to which said stalker goes. Sleep Tight, the most recent directorial outing from the mastermind behind [REC] (2009), poses some difficult questions to his audience.

It’s hard to talk about this film without revealing too much about the plot, so this review will be as vague as possible. Cesar, the concierge of a busy apartment block, finds himself going to increasingly extreme levels to find the happiness he so desperately desires.

Sleep Tight is a tautly-wound thriller that demands its audience look into the mind of a stalker and judge why he behaves in such a way. The juxtaposition between images, which become more and more violent, and the character development of Cesar, creates a conflict of emotions. On one hand you can see what he is doing, which is less than acceptable, on the other, this guy is at rock bottom, patently feels alone, and everyone needs love, right? The director’s camera is invisible at the right points and active in the scene when it needs. There is a fantastic air of tension at a number of key points in the plot, with a standout performance coming from the youngest member of the cast. The three acts are defined, with some great set pieces in each, and there is an ending that may leave you questioning the motives of the filmmakers but that will definitely make you think.

European horror seems to be breaking boundaries at the moment. The French and Spanish are holding the torch for thinking horror, or at least horror that is truly unsettling and scary. Sleep Tight does not resort to jump-scares and treats its audience with respect, which is something rarely seen in horror.

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