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FrightFest review – The Maid

My notes on The Maid

This Thai movie from Lee Thongkham isn’t a remake of Kelvin Tong’s 2005 Singaporean film of the same name – though that also dealt with a new maid coming into a wealthy household haunted by the spectre of a previous maid and the unfolding of a mystery about why the spook might want revenge on her former employers.  This might also take on a slight influence from Park Chan-wook’s Korean The Handmaiden, more in the framing, décor and style of the characters – the setting seems to be contemporary, but everyone has a classic look – than the storyline.

Joy (Ploy Sornarin), an outwardly cheerful girl, is the replacement maid in the household of ultra-chic Uma (Savika Chaiyadej) and charged with looking after ‘Lady Nid’ (Keetapat Pongrue), a little girl with a supposed neural condition that makes her prone to see things – though, apparently, this is catching since at least one previous servant has quit after coming to believe Nid’s playthings (especially a monkey toy related to the one in that Stephen King story ‘The Monkey’) have a malign life of their own.  Joy and Nid bond and Joy admits she sees the ghost of Ploy (Kannaporn Puangtong), a maid who worked for the family before Nid was born.  Uma’s handsome husband Nirach (Theerapat Sajakul) is more ornamental than useful and the other servants keep Joy in the dark about what went on in the backstory.

Some of the developments are guessable, though Thongkam – who also-co-wrote with Piyaluk Tuntrisakul – keeps a good few twists, suprises, unexpected revelations and old-fashioned spook scares up his sleeve.  It’s divided into chapters and has an elegant feel, with perfectly turned-out characters (at least at first) who are all nurturing secrets like Cluedo characters keeping their weapons hidden, and the story very satisfactorily develops in the latter stages as we find out more and more terrible things and Joy, under the influence of her soundalike Ploy but also acting out on impulses embedded in her own backstory, puts on a transparent mac and walks through the chaos and carnage of a swanky party gone very wrong indeed.

Here’s the FrightFest listing


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