The Maid

 

2005

Billed as Singapore’s first “homegrown” horror movie, “The Maid” is an intriguing blend of ghost movie staples with superior acting and a fascinating background which will be unknown to most Western viewers. A pretty Filipina (Alessandra de Rossi) arrives in Singapore on the first day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar, the Month of the Hungry Ghosts. She is warned by the couple in whose home she will work as a maid not to offend these spirits.
 
As she befriends Mr. and Mrs. Teo’s retarded son Ah Soon (a brilliant performance from Benny Soh), Rosa begins to suspect that there’s more to this Hungry Ghost thing than she’s been told. At the opera, a ghost forces her out of her seat so his wife can watch the play, and life goes downhill from there.
 
Writer/director Kelvin Tong uses the tricks of the spookshow trade, but he uses them so well most of them seem new. If he borrows a little obviously from popular Western films of recent years, I suspect he’s only finding his way. I think he’s capable of some pretty eerie stuff in future. The disc includes an English language making-of that is interesting but not essential to an enhanced enjoyment of the film, but under no conditions should be watched first. Recommended for fans of Pacific Rim horror movies.

““Phil Bacharach

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