maid, Rosa arrives to work in Singapore during the Lunar Seventh Month or
the Hungry Ghost Festival- believed to be a time when the Hell gates open.
Life turns into a nightmare when Rosa unwittingly breaks the rules of the
Month, tumbling into the world of the dead and glimpsed strange apparitions
at night. To keep her job, she has to stifle her screams and fear...
A far cry from the Japanese and Korean’s bizarre treatments of the
horror genres, “The Maid” plays it straightforward and terrorised
you with its clichéd but heart-pounding scare tactics. The inclusion
of dialects and the touches on the infamous hungry ghost festival might
have contributed to its success.
To the many
Chinese and even the non-chinese in Singapore, tales of the seventh month
are a common theme for ghostly tales and in addition, your parents will
advise you not to go out too late or step into burning incense on the road
especially during that month of the year. But to Rosa, a Filipino girl whose
basic living necessity and brother’s live is at stake, these so-called
tales are pretty much insignificant. Director Kelvin Tong has cleverly crafted
an old ghostly tale from a foreigner’s point of view. With most shots
confined inside an old, creaky shophouse, “The Maid” is infused
beautifully with many intense atmospheric moments and the intentionally
loud sound effects do have its merits here.
actress Alessandra De Rossi is almost unrecognisable as she morphs into
her role as the helpless Rosa. Television veterans Chen Shu Cheng and Hong
Hui Fang are commendable in their roles as well. Benny Soh (who in real-life
is holding a non-actor job in Mediacorp) shines in his debut performance
as the retarded son.
For a local
movie, the production values are pretty strong although some technicalities
liked dialogue recording still needs much improvement. And the “Sixth
Sense” inspired finale might turn some off. On the whole, “The
Maid” is a good old-fashioned horror tale that is worthy of your time
despite of the highlightened flaws. Enough of “One missed call”
or “The Wig”, we have “The Maid” to make us wanting
more. The last we heard, Hollywood is interested in securing the rights.
They should title it as “The Re-Maid”.
Review by Linus Tee