As usual, I was searching for my next horror movie and the movie that came to my attention was Sleep Tight. This 2011 film was written by the same Spanish director as the zombie movie REC, which was well done and certainly scary. Though his sequels going into the origin of the zombies in similar scenarios are less entertaining but he seems to have a franchise, so I’m not going to judge.
So the first thing is that this movie is not a horror movie, you might want to label it as such because it is somewhat creepy how amazingly well adapted this man is at doing the cruel and terrible things he does, but it is not strictly scary. Not in the sense that the Oprhanage is scary.
The movie starts out with the main character Cesar, an apartment complex concierge who primary goal in life is to make his tenants unhappy to alleviate his own unhappiness. He does this with small subtle changes to everyone’s lives in order to ruin them. The older single lady with her precious dogs, the young teenage girl, the overnight maid and her daughter, and our main character: the young gorgeous Clara. But unlike the others, Clara refuses to stop smiling. Her happiness shines through regardless of the small but terrible inflictions that Cesar piles upon her.
At this point the rest of this review goes into spoilers, but I would recommend watching this movie. The twists are not overly complex, but they are subtle and you can enjoy the story of how much effort this man goes into inflicting his sadness upon others. The story continues but never gets boring, the pacing is well done, and the only thing I would say negative about the movie is that there are perhaps some minor plots holes that don’t really ruin the movie for me.
Cesar’s actions are subtle. Injecting sodium hydroxide into Clara’s lotions, infesting her apartment with bugs, the treatment of Victoria’s dogs in order to kill one. Everything causes pain but in a way that seem like it comes from either your own actions or bad luck. The blame is never strictly on Cesar and that’s where his brilliance shines throguh. It’s enough to suspect something odd but never enough malice and intent to realize it.I have to appreciate this ability to set up these scenarios in these brilliant ways.
The other thing is that I enjoyed the conclusion. The conclusion can be predicted if you tie everything together in a way and make some assumptions on what is going on. But you have to make a connection on step beyond what you see in the movie, though the movie does finally reveal in a more obvious way what that extra step is. I believe if you can predict the ending of Se7en, you can probably guess what’s going to happen in ths movie. But for me the movie kept me paying attention well enough that I couldn’t take time to think of the next step. The pacing of the movie comes into play here and does well. Though I don’t believe the hint is as obvious as in Se7en.
The thing about Sleep Tight’s ending is that it wasn’t planned by Cesar in the begining, this wasn’t some grand master plan that went according to his will. He adapts, he changes small things, he continues making differences and mistakes and has to figure out small changes to his plan. In the movie, he drugs her every night and sleeps next to her, but later on in the movie they show that he was in fact also raping her, thus causing her inpregnation. While I can imagine this is part of a bigger plan in order to confuse and destroy her, maybe it is for his own pleasure, you can’t really tell. When the boyfriend comes back, he figures the tension of the pregnancy if it happens could destroy the relationship. When confronted with the boyfriend though, he ends up murdering him and sets it up a suicide in order to destroy Clara. The thing is that he knows that she thinks it is his, and that is intesnse. I don’t know when exactly he plans and how long in the process that he realizes that could be a source of ultimate misery for Clara, but he does eventually. He then reveals to her the entire story after she has already had the child.
I truly enjoyed how much the story adapts and changes to accomodate this changing things, it’s less grand than the twists in the Prestige or Sixth Sense, but it’s there. You can see the small reveals that lay out his plan and how they will tie together in the very end.
The acting in the film is decent, I don’t remember any superb acting beyond Cesar but they all played their roles fairly well. But when you’re making a movie about a psycopath, you care more about the psycopath than all the auxillary characters.
I would honestly rate the movie very highly in my movies of things to watch, and I would recommend it for anybody who doesn’t mind the thriller movies and enjoys unravelling plots.