A sick, twisted & nightmarish psychological horror pierced with undercurrents of black comedy, Sleep Tight (also known as Mientras duermes) is a brutal, intense & nail-biting example of its genre that’s absolutely merciless with its content and only gets more unnerving as plot progresses.

The story of Sleep Tight follows an apartment caretaker who deals with his own miserable existence by making others’ lives the same. His latest target is a cheerful resident whom he finds difficult to agitate when compared to others, which in turn compels him to go to extreme lengths to break her down mentally.

Directed by Jaume Balagueró, best known for [•REC], the premise is simple & set up real quick but once the audience is let in on the events at play here, it becomes an utterly discomforting ride. Balagueró ratchet things up in a very methodical fashion, escalating the tension gradually to a point where it’s almost tangible.

The script doesn’t delve deep into the character’s psyche or background but that’s not much of an issue, for its close proximity to real-life scenario is sufficient to keep the viewers invested in the story. The horror elements are effectively utilised while their visceral quality results in some truly nerve-wracking moments.

A sense of uneasiness pervades the frames from start to finish and every little twist only amplifies its unsettling aura. Camerawork is excellent throughout, employing clever angles to deliver maximum impact. Its 102 minutes runtime is expertly paced & finely edited. And its brooding score & first-rate sound keep everything on the edge at all times.

Despite the lack of character depth, the actors play their part rather well and deliver compelling performances. Luis Tosar plays the concierge who takes great pleasure in torturing others and his quiet rendition & calm demeanour only contributes to the spiteful persona he brings to life. Marta Etura is no slouch in the role of the cheery resident and chips in with a strong act.

On an overall scale, Sleep Tight is harrowing, unsparing & capable of unleashing worse nightmares than most horror flicks of today, all because of how fucked up yet plausible its premise actually is. An emotionally devastating & soul-shattering ride that benefits greatly from Balagueró’s sharp direction & Tosar’s disturbing performance, Sleep Tight is a highly underrated Spanish gem that’s worthy of a broader audience. Definitely recommended.


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