REVIEW: The Maid (2020)

dir. Lee Thongkham

Hired as the new maid of a royal house, Joy (Ploy Sornarin) is warned that she must not pry into other people’s business. It’s an instruction easier said than done however when she discovers that her predecessor mysteriously disappeared and is now haunting the family. Driven to stop the terrorising spirit, Joy works to uncover the reason behind the former maid’s vanishing.

Director Lee Thongkham crafts a compelling mystery, the disappearance of the beloved maid coinciding with the family being literally haunted by their past. Ploy (Kannaporn Puangtong) was a source of happiness, and her absence has left a significant void in the family unit. From Uma (Savika Chaiyadej), the madame presenting herself in elegant dresses, to Nirach (Theerapat Sajakul), the husband whose constant drinking dulls how undermined he feels, the parental couple are putting up smokescreens to hide their loveless marriage, leaving their dementia-diagnosed daughter to be cared for by the next maid.

Taking on this role, Joy puts on a cheery exterior whilst being curious about what really happened before. But that’s not the only enigma at hand, her motivations behind the happy-to-help attitude being teased, leaving the audience to question what’s really driving her.

Although the first-half focuses on the ghostly haunting a sense of atmosphere is notably missing, contributing to a sluggish pace and less-than-effective scares. Thankfully this doesn’t last, as a significant revelation causes the film to change gears and venture down a more disturbing path. Characters are made to face the consequences of their actions, and an explosion of violence and righteous fury sees sins of the past resurface. It’s an effective way to close, and a notable step-up from what came before.

⭐⭐⭐

James Rodrigues

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