Sleep Tight is the kind of movie that’s hard to forget. It’s easily one of the most disturbing movies I’ve come across but it’s so effective and efficient that it sucks you in from the first scene to the last. One big reason for its success is the performance from Luis Tosar which is phenomenal.
Dark Sky | NR – 101 min. – $29.98 | January 8, 2013
Directed by: Jaume Dalagueró
Writer(s): Alberto Marini (screenplay)
Cast: Luis Tosar, Maria Etura, Alberto San Juan
Theatrical Release Date: October 26, 2012 (limited)
Features: Featurette, Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: Spanish (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish SDH
Disc Size: 22.7 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.0/5
Jaume Dalagueró, director of the popular [REC] and [REC] 2 movies, latest is Sleep Tight (Mientras duermes), a disturbing chiller that is the most unsettling film since perhaps 2006’s Alone with Her starring Colin Hanks and Ana Claudia Talancon.
Barcelona doorman César (LUIS TOSAR) is an unhappy man but rather than ending his own life and sparing others, his only desire is to make those around him, and in the apartment building to which he works for, as unhappy as he is. When Sleep Tight opens, César is awakened by the alarm, slides out of bed for another day of work; lying next to him is a beautiful woman, but something is obviously off (especially seeing a picture on the nightstand of another man). He then goes downstairs to a basement apartment, showers and dresses. At this point I was perplexed as to what exactly was going on especially when, at the lobby desk, he pays off a young girl who promptly leaves a wad of spit on the counter top.
Clara (MARTA ETURA), that beautiful woman finally awakens, perhaps a bit groggy, and prepares for the day and in the process provides a bit of titillation for the male viewers. After doing her morning rituals and getting dressed, she eventually comes downstairs in a rush. She and César have a brief conversation before heading off (we never find out exactly what she does for a living).
Meanwhile, César does his daily chores and, during lunch, visits his ailing mother unleashing his vitriol about his life and those living in the apartment complex. Unable to speak, his mother merely sits there and apparently and take it. After returning from lunch, César must also contend with the owner who berates César for constantly being late.
After César’s day is over, one would think it’s time to settle down. He goes into the apartment he had awoken in earlier, and, as if routine, slides underneath the bed and waits. Some time passes, using a mirror he checks to see if she is asleep and chloroforms her to knock her completely out. He slides into bed with her for another night’s sleep. In the morning, he then uses her toothbrush and injects something into her facial creams.
So, what is César up to? Well, as I mentioned, he’s unhappy and thus wants to spread it to others. While some harsh comments to others suffice, he’s become obsessed with targeting Clara because she’s consistently has had a sunny disposition. This only infuriates him more and becomes his mission to spread misery into her life… without her even knowing it.
What’s most fascinating about Sleep Tight is what director Dalagueró does unraveling the César character because from the opening shot, it looks normal but there’s something ever so slightly off. When he goes to his basement dwelling, it switches gears and then again later when the pair exchange pleasantries leaving you believing the two are having a secret affair. And all of that changes into a far more disturbing direction when you discover the true intentions.
Story aside, the biggest highlight is Luis Tosar’s incredible performance, if this were an American film or if it had a wider release in the U.S., I have little doubt Tosar would be receiving some kind of award buzz, especially the Oscars because it truly is one of the more disquieting one’s I’ve seen in a long, long time. What’s most impressive is how he presents his character in a way that, in some ways, you actually care about what happens to him or if he’s discovered (let’s face it, there are likeable characters that can’t even accomplish that…).
Not to be outdone, though she is overshadowed, Marta Etura is ravishing having to go through a plethora of emotions from initial happiness, to being upbeat, heartbreak, sorrow, anger and anguish over the course of 100-minutes. I’m not exactly an expert in foreign language films so I can’t judge whether she turns in a remarkable performance, but for my money she seemed to have delivered in a difficult role.
Sleep Tight is easily one of the most disturbing yet enthralling chillers I’ve seen in years. It not only features an incredibly involving story but an amazing performance from Luis Tosar, an actor I hope one day will break through into Western cinema just as Javier Bardem did with Before Night Falls and, particularly, No Country For Old Men.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.75/5
Sleep Tight: Cesar’s World (1:47:40; SD) is a surprisingly extensive making-of/behind-the-scenes featurette/documentary examining the César character and the overall story. It features interviews with the cast and crew who talk about various elements, including the screenplay to the music to the actual filming. If you can stand reading subtitles beyond the movie, this is well worth your time.
Deleted Scenes (12:35; HD) – Not listed on the back cover, there are some scenes left on the cutting room floor (or trimmed from existing scenes) which are certainly interesting to watch but weren’t necessarily needed.
Trailer (2:17; HD)
Previews – The Innkeepers, My Sucky Teen Romance, Hypothermia
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Dark Sky Films releases Sleep Tight on to Blu-ray presented in its original 2.35 widescreen aspect ratio and a fine 1080p high-def transfer. Although there are plenty scenes that take place in the daylight, to which they do have good detail levels, it’s the nighttime shots which falter. These scenes are a bit overexposed and show off artifacting and pixilation. Still, it’s a nice transfer just nothing outstanding that will look awe-inspiring on the smaller screen.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
On the flip side, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA Spanish track (with default English subtitles) does sound great throughout. Dialogue levels are clear, any action scenes really help expand the surround speakers nicely and the LFE channel kicks in at various moments with a nice depth.
OVERALL – 3.75/5
Overall, Sleep Tight is the kind of movie that’s hard to forget. It’s easily one of the most disturbing movies I’ve come across but it’s so effective and efficient that it sucks you in from the first scene to the last. One big reason for its success is the performance from Luis Tosar which is phenomenal. The Blu-ray has a decent video transfer, excellent lossless audio and a ‘making-of’ documentary that is well worth watching.