Plot: Linh (Kate Nhung) is a young orphan in desperate need of work and shelter, so she knocks on the door of a remote plantation, one owned by Captain Sebastien Laurent (Jean-Michel Richaud). Although she has no experience, Linh is given a position on a trial basis and since Mrs. Han (Kim Xuan) runs the estate like clockwork, she will need to learn fast to stay around. Linh soon learns that Sebastien lost his wife and still deeply mourns, but he opens up to Linh after he is injured and she cares for him, which leads to a connection between the two. At the same time, she also discovers that the plantation has some dark history and this is obvious when strange visions begin to haunt her, including seeing ghostly images of the Captain’s late wife. The closer she becomes with Sebastien, the more frequent and disturbing these odd incidents become. But does she have a chance at a life with Sebastien, even while supernatural forces seem to be on the march to keep them apart?
Entertainment Value: This is a dark, eerie horror movie that manages to craft some creepy moments, as well as an effective romance. This is no simple task, but despite some minor stumbles, The Housemaid pulls it off and also feels like a throwback to old school Asian horror cinema. The narrative has a lot of moving parts and threads, so it can feel a little complicated at times, but the core storyline works well, even if all the side threads aren’t as successful. I thought Madeleine was fun and quite an epic bitch, but her entire presence seemed out of place and only led to things that could have been achieved in a more natural fashion. But I loved the dynamic between Sebastien and Linh, as well as her relationship with Mrs. Han. The romance is a tad rushed at times, but feels organic and the chemistry between actors is excellent here. I appreciated that both the romance and the horror elements were given ample time to breathe and develop, so neither feels tacked on. I also like the atmosphere and tension in The Housemaid, it all comes together well and the movie exudes a dark, unsettling presence. As I said, the movie has some issues, but I think the good well outweighs the bad here and The Housemaid is well worth a look for genre fans.
The movie has some sex scenes, with toplessness and some bare ass, but that’s all the nakedness. The sex scenes are passionate, but tasteful and one even has some wild horror elements involved. There’s some blood, but not much, as The Housemaid relies more on atmosphere and tension, as opposed to violence. At the same time, we also have some eerie, effective makeup work and effects, centering on the various supernatural elements at work here. So we have hands thrusting up from underground, zombie like creatures, and ghostly apparitions all involved. These are well crafted and do what they are supposed to, so there might not be much blood, but the horror effects are frequent and well done. The dialogue is well written, but aside from Madeleine and some light comic relief, none of the dialogue is that wild or outlandish. So the score is low, but this is well written, just not off the rails kind of stuff. This one is dark, but not that insane, though Madeleine, the possessed car sequence, and the supernatural sex scene rack up a couple points.
Overall Insanity: 3/10