M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Moving on to Year Three of my decade-long Retro-Best in Horror recap Countdowns begins officially on October 1, 2012 and goes through September 30, 2013. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around, and even adding a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2012 and September 30, 2013 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on January 8, 2013 and available on digital download, On Demand and BluRay/DVD here!

SLEEP TIGHT (2011)

aka MIENTRAS DUERMES, FLATMATE
Directed by Jaume Balagueró
Written by Alberto Marini
Starring Luis Tosar, Marta Clara, Alberto San Juan, Pep Tosar,Petra Martínez, Iris Almeida
Find out more about this film here!

Some directors do great action pictures. Others specialize in drama. Some go awesome sci fi or horror flicks. But it takes an extremely talented director to do numerous genres well. Though thrillers may be inbred cousins with horror, in the three films I’ve seen from Jaume Balagueró, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that we’ve got an extremely versatile director at work here. With [REC], Balagueró proved himself to be innovative and gutsy as he brought back the found footage trend and made it cool again. Though some might say [REC 2] was repetitive, I think it did the impossible in retaining what made the first film amazing and expanded on it in ways we all wished most sequels could. After showing us that he can do “in your face” horror well, Balagueró has decided to reel it back and go for the more subtle route and like [REC] and [REC 2], he’s made something special with SLEEP TIGHT.

I know it’s cliché to call a film which relies strongly on suspense Hitchcockian, but that’s exactly what this film feels like. Once again set in an apartment building, this film’s horrors aren’t from demonic viruses or the living dead, but from a more human monster. Though he looks harmless, Cesar (Luis Tosar) is anything but. He’s a sociopath, unable to feel any joy in his life except when causing pain in others. From behind his concierge desk, he seems to be harmless with his cherubic bald head and bushy eyebrows, but like Norman Bates, he proves that it’s the quiet ones you have to look out for.

The film opens with Cesar waking up early, getting showered and dressed, and kissing what looks to be his wife goodbye before starting his job as the doorman of an apartment building. Soon Clara (Marta Clara) awakes, groggy, but ready for the day. As Cesar goes about his banal routine at the front desk, she gets ready as well. When she sees Cesar as she leaves, Clara is pleasant but not familiar with him. But that’s when things start to take a dark turn as Clara has no idea Cesar is sleeping in the same bed as her after chloroforming her in the night.

Every single woman’s nightmare is brought to life with SLEEP TIGHT as we follow Cesar stalking and watching Clara’s every move. Unlike the tepid Hammer film THE RESIDENT where Jeffrey Dean Morgan creeps on Hillary Swank from an intricate tunnel system through the walls, SLEEP TIGHT goes the simpler route and places this creeper under the bed where all good monsters hide. Cesar’s tendency to reside under Clara’s bed leads to some absolutely white knuckle moments of pure tension as you can’t help but hope but root for Cesar to get caught. The fact that Balagueró is able to make us feel for this creepy bastard is alone a testament to his skill at a master manipulator behind the camera.

SLEEP TIGHT is expertly acted throughout with a stellar performance by Luis Tosar as the perverted peeper. His ability to churn a stomach, tingle a spine, and wrench the heart all at once exemplifies the actor’s range. Marta Clara does her job well as the object of Cesar’s desire, but the real standout female performance of the film is young Iris Almeida who plays the little girl in the building savvy to Cesar’s nighttime adventures. All around, this film is well done from the thespian perspective.

Numerous times in SLEEP TIGHT I felt my heart beating in my chest as Balagueró temps and teases with his camera, taking us to uncomfortable places with his perverse characters and forcing us to identify with them. As action packed as the original [REC] was, SLEEP TIGHT is tension stuffed and unrelenting. If you’re looking for horror on the subtler, yet potent side, you can rest easy with SLEEP TIGHT.


THE 2012-2013 COUNTDOWN!


#10 – SLEEP TIGHT
#11 – WE ARE WHAT WE ARE
#12 – THE CONJURING
#13 – SIGHTSEERS
#14 – WITHER
#15 – KISS OF THE DAMNED
#16 – JUG FACE
#17 – NO ONE LIVES
#18 – YOU’RE NEXT
#19 – HOME SWEET HOME
#20 – THE TAINT
#21 – THE PURGE
#22 – RITUAL/MODUS ANOMALI
#23 – V/H/S/2
#24 – MON AMI
#25 – EUROPA REPORT
#26 – BLIND ALLEY
#27 – MIDNIGHT SON
#28 – DEVIL’S PASS
#29 – COME OUT AND PLAY
#30 – THE LAST WILL & TESTAMENT OF ROSALIND LEIGH
#31 – I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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