Thailand might not be best known for its horror movies. However, the creators behind THE MAID are looking to change that with a classically built Asian horror story that will hope to go down as a genre classic alongside movies such as The Ring, The Grudge, and Dark Water.
A new maid, Joy (Ploy Sornarin), begins working at a luxurious, big old house for a wealthy family. She is told the daughter of the family has an illness, which means she sees things that aren’t there. But, soon enough, Joy herself is seeing supernatural things, including the spirit of a previous maid. The deeper she digs into the disappearance of this maid, the more secretive the family and staff become.
This does have hints of a classic Asian ghost story but it more than stands on its own two feet too. Told in three chapters, Chapter 1 introduces the characters, including the new maid and the ghostly one. The scares come quick and fast in this opening third, including some cool creepy background moments, a couple of in-your-face jump scares, and some suitably terrifying images. The titular maid is indeed very creepy and the music in the first part of the movie is often strange, in keeping with the style of horror.
Chapter 2 shows the history of Ploy (Kannaporn Puangtong) and the viewer learns a lot of things that are important to the story. There might be a lack of scares in this middle third, but it makes up for it with some graphic and very bloody violence!
Chapter 3 is a brilliant culmination of what was displayed in the first two chapters and brings both scares and graphic violence. It leans a bit more towards the brutal killings and featuring scenes that would fit right into a slasher movie franchise. There are some really cool and violent moments with the use of a knife, and Director Lee Thongkham knows exactly what he’s doing by making most of the characters wear white. It looks even better when the blood starts spraying. The director clearly has an eye for an impressive horror visual because there’s a moment near the end of the film with the backdrop of fire that looks fantastic.
Ploy Sornarin, who plays the lead character, Joy, might not have much acting experience but she is great in the lead role. You will not believe her transformation by the end of THE MAID.
Thongkham seems to have been influenced by Tarantino in a couple of scenes but this is not a bad thing. If you’re going to have some fun with making violence, it’s a good thing to be influenced by some of the best.
THE MAID should at the very least become another Asian horror cult classic and – hopefully – influence many more horror films out of Thailand. THE MAID is an energetic, story-driven, and brutally violent horror film. I can only imagine how much fun this will be with a crowd at this year’s Frightfest.