CONFINEMENT (陪月) (2023)

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Kelvin Tong
Cast: Rebecca Lim, Cynthia Koh
Runtime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: PG13 (Horror)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures and Clover Films
Official Website:

Opening Day: 19 October 2023

Synopsis: CONFINEMENT tells the story of Wang Si Ling (Rebecca Lim), a pregnant painter who moves into her dream home and hires a confinement nanny after winning an award. As Si Ling begins her one month in confinement, inexplicable incidents start mounting in the house, threatening both her and her baby…

Movie Review:

One can’t possibly ask for a more timely publicity than this. Singaporean actress Rebecca Lim, who is headlining Kelvin Tong’s latest work announced last month that she is pregnant, complete with a photo of herself with a visible baby bump. The thing is, in Tong’s psychological thriller, Lim plays a single mother who experiences weird (read: supernatural) happenings when her confinement nanny moves in to take care of her newborn. Yup, this means that Lim’s appearance at the movie’s publicity events will cause a natural buzz.

Depending on how superstitious you are, watching a movie of this genre when you’re pregnant may not be the best idea, especially when you are the one playing the character who is being spooked. We are sure Lim is sensible about this, but we aren’t so sure about Si Ling, the single mother she plays in the movie.

It is almost the same set of peculiarities for any horror or psychological thriller. The characters always involve themselves in situations that most of us wouldn’t have landed ourselves in. For example, if you keep hearing strange voices and seeing shadowy figures while staying in a huge house with your newborn, would you have made attempts to find another accommodation? If you are perpetually haunted by a recurring nightmare about a ghostly figure that pounces at you in the house, would you have made more effort to move out?

Maybe the protagonist of this movie is taking the advice of her confinement nanny Ah Qing (Cynthia Koh) seriously, because she warns her not to step out of the house during the one month period. But hey, you see Si Ling heading over to a neighbour’s house to check out the old lady who calls her “dirty”, and going to her manager’s office to demand for answers whether anything sinister happened in the lodging he procured for her. Oh, and we don’t exactly understand why Si Ling uses the landline and doesn’t have any Internet enabled device to go online to search for answers.

Then there is the confinement nanny herself, who behaves is behaving suspiciously. Is Ah Qing secretly communicating to the father of the child behind closed doors? And what exactly are the ingredients in the confinement meals she cooks for Si Ling?

Questions, questions, questions.

This 95 minute movie takes its time to build up the mood, and a substantial amount of time is dedicated to Si Ling’s strange and frustrating encounters. There are very few jump scares, and the filmmakers are not interested in delivering gore and horror. Lim does a decent job in playing a character who is psychologically confused by the happenings around her, while Koh is appropriately unsettling with her cold stares and unaffectionate behaviour (one look at we wouldn’t trust Ah Qing with a newborn). The technical aspects of the movie are top notch. Director Tong is a confident filmmaker who knows how to use cinematography and sound design to bring out the best of the production set.

When the truth is finally revealed in the very last moments of the movie, you try to recall all the clues that Tong has placed throughout the story. But you also wonder why Si Ling didn’t get out of the house earlier, like any other normal human being would. 

Movie Rating:

(There is an emotional payoff for this psychological thriller featuring decent performances from lead actresses Rebecca Lim and Cynthia Koh)

Review by John Li

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