The Maid is a 2020 Thai horror feature film about a teenager employed as a domestic servant who is haunted by the previous maid.
Directed by Lee Thongkham (The Last One) from a screenplay written by Piyaluk Tuntisrisakul based on Thongkham’s storyline, the Global Film Station-Hollywood production stars Ploy Sornarin, Kannaporn Puangtong, Savika Chaiyadej and Theerapat Sajakul.
A new housemaid begins working in a luxurious mansion owned by a wealthy woman and her husband. They have a young daughter who is forbidden from leaving the house, and who has been diagnosed with a mental illness due to the fact she has visions of a woman around the house.
Those visions are the ghost of the dead maid, who seems desperate to make contact with the new maid to help her uncover the truth about her death. But what does the new maid find out about her death, and how does she react to the truth?
The plot of The Maid is split into three chapters. The first two chapters are used to introduce all the characters and set the story up. At first, it’s not really clear where the movie is heading. Is it just a simple haunted house movie? Or is it just an evil spirit protecting her territory over a perceived threat?
Well, all those questions get answered in the final third, and wow does the movies take an incredible and exciting shift. I can understand if you weren’t really enjoying the film up until this point, but if you stuck with the film to the end, I wonder if you enjoyed it as much as I did?
I loved that final third. It’s one of the most insane endings I have seen in an Asian horror film since the Forbidden Door.
What I loved most about this movie is the performance of Ploy Sornarin, who plays Joy the new housemaid. This is the third movie of hers I have seen, the others being Siam Square and Viral, both of which I have discussed in the past. Siam Square was fantastic, but Viral was awful, partly due to her performance. But four years after Viral, Ploy has matured as an actress, and her performance in this is terrific, especially in that final third where her character is able to unleash her full emotions.
There’s not much more I can tell you about the film without giving away any spoilers, but it was great to see Thai cinema explore a few themes that are usually taboo, including adultery and same-sex relationships. It’s refreshing and tastefully done, and adds to the overall tension building of the film. This is a movie I would strongly encourage you to watch.
The Arty Dans, guest reviewer via Asian Film Fans
[May contain spoilers] Other reviews:
“There are few drawbacks such as the creators suddenly shifted the genre from spooky horror to revenge slasher. The shift was not expected and not very convincing. And also the usage of the monkey doll which was shown like the Chucky doll. Has nothing to do with the storyline is more or like a filler in the story.” Bingeopedia
“The third act of The Maid features many exciting sequences and is enough to spoil the hearts of slasher fans […] the brutal scenes at the height of the conflict are quite satisfying even if you have to go through various grooves that dip in the middle of the film.” Cultura [translated from Indonesian]
“During its horror portion, the director was able to amp up the atmosphere and terror even without the use of jump scares. The slasher portion was the highlight which was all-out and no-holds-barred gory fun much like a Kill Bill experience. Overall, The Maid had a lot of head-scratchers in its narrative but made up for it with its highly-entertaining last half hour.” Reel Advice
“The film definitely picks up after a while, with the characters becoming more compelling and interesting. Joy initially seems plainly innocent and sweet, but we get intriguing glimpses of a much more mysterious side. By the half-time mark, it almost feels like a completely different movie, definitely in a good way. Director Lee Thongkam amps up the horror, this time, it’s not just because of the ghosts.” Sinema
“This tired retread of every notable Gothic romance and upstairs/downstairs drama, from The Innocents to Parasite, albeit without the atmosphere or tension, eventually gives way to a more intriguing, if no less derivative, story […] Conversely, Ploy pitches her performance perfectly, unravelling quite spectacularly from vaguely irritating to deliriously unhinged as the story’s central mystery is finally revealed.” South China Morning Post
“The Maid is a little confused about what it wants to be – a horror or a revenge story. However, the ending 20 minutes is a bloodbath and I am here for it. I can’t say the same about a major chunk of the first half. It’s kinda boring, and people just look mildly curiously in the distance but we don’t see or feel their dread or tension.” TechQuila
“A couple of flashbacks reveal that this is in fact, as a story of revenge. It is the unassuming and sweet Joy’s back story that give you the real chills, and this is what is really worth watching out for. The latter part of the film returns to being all about violence and gore. And if that kind of horror and action is what one finds most satisfying about this genre, then you sure do get your money’s worth.” Times of India
The Maid is available for streaming in various territories via Netflix.
Cast and characters:
Ploy Sornarin … Joy
Kannaporn Puangtong … Ploy
Savika Chaiyadej … Uma
Theerapat Sajakul … Nirach
Keetapat Pongrue … Nid
Ratchanok Suwannaket … Fon
Natanee Sitthisaman … Wan
Alina Homsangpradit … Doctor
Venus Saksiri … Joy’s friend