Julio Fernandez

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Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review


Even though the central character is somewhat undefined, this film is a thorough creep-out, playing on our vulnerabilities while making the villain the most sympathetic person on-screen. Balaguero is one of the directors behind the [Rec] series, and knows how to unsettle his audience with atmospheric, skin-crawling sequences that are made especially visceral due to the realistic acting.

An impressive presence in the prison thriller Cell 211, the Bolivian political drama Even the Rain and as a drug kingpin in the Miami Vice movie, Spanish actor Tosar stars as Cesar, the likeable doorman at a creaky Madrid apartment block. But he secretly despises the residents, and is quietly destroying their lives, tormenting an elderly woman (Martinez) and her two beloved dogs, brutally threatening a young girl (Almeida Molina), and casting suspicion on mother-and-son cleaners (Fernandez and Morilla). But his biggest plan is for Clara (Etura), the sexy young woman in flat 5B. And while her boyfriend (San Juan) is away on business, he lurks in the shadows of her apartment plotting something unspeakable.

Director Balaguero keeps the film on low boil, refusing to explain everything in the plot while quietly twisting the moody tone. Every scene is a bundle of insinuation that suggests something truly nasty, and it's refreshing that Tosar never tries to make us understand what Cesar is up to: we see why everyone likes him, and also why they should be terrified of him. We only ever get a vague idea of his overall plan, but the things he does along the way are sinister enough to keep us nervous. As are hints that he may have done this before.

Continue reading: Sleep Tight [Mientras Duermes] Review

[Rec]3 Genesis Review


Spanish filmmaker Plaza takes this franchise in yet another direction, surprising us with an inventive approach to the genre by twisting our expectations. While Rec 2 turned things darker and more vampirical, this third instalment does an about face into comedy. Naturally, it's dark, blood-soaked comedy. And it's also so inventive that it continually catches us off guard.

The film starts with a cheesy wedding video showing the romance and marriage of Clara and Koldo (Dolera and Martin), leading up to the reception in a beautiful garden hotel. Then guests start feeling queasy, infected by the gruesome virus of the previous films, which turns them into snarling, flesh-eating monsters.

And all hell breaks loose. From here, filmmaker Plaza abandons the found-footage genre, shooting things as a more standard horror romp as Clara and Koldo are separated and must try to find each other amid the carnage.

Continue reading: [Rec]3 Genesis Review

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