The Maid (2005)

Release Date: 18 August 2005

Directed by: Kelvin Tong

Country: Singapore

The plot centers around Rosa Dimaano, a Filipino maid who has come to Singapore to work for the Teo family, hopeful and optimistic.

Cinematography: The way the movie was filmed and edited was pretty bad and as someone who is afraid of watching horror movies, The Maid didn’t scare me as much. I felt like much could be done to make the movie better, such as the sound effects.

One of the main things that Rosa experiences is cultural shock. It was her first time overseas and living in a different country so she struggled to adapt to the different culture, tradition and practices in Singapore. One of her mistake was sitting in the front row (which is reserved for the dead) during an opera performance who are “out” during the Seventh Month (Hungry Ghost Festival).

In my opinion, religion and culture played a big part in the development of the plot. For instance, it was revealed that the previous maid before Rosa, Esther, was set on fire by Mr. Teo. This then comes to a full circle towards the end of the movie, when Mr. Teo is set on fire by the ghost of Esther, keeping in mind that the oil that covered him was spilled by his own son Ah Soon. This was a display of Karma and Retribution which is a spiritual belief that stems from Hindu and Buddhist roots, both of which are Singapore’s major religions.

There was also a hint of extremism exhibited in the film when we find out that the main objective of hiring Rosa was so the Teos could marry her to their dead son. I found this extremely demeaning; a show of how some Singaporeans abuse their domestic helpers, disregarding their rights as a fellow human being.

Even though I found the film mediocre, it surprisingly broke the box office record in Singapore for the horror genre. I suppose that it was one of the first of better horror films in Singapore that based its mise en scène of Singaporean culture. On top of that, one of the main elements was a brutally murdered maid and in a repressed society such as Singapore, murder (punishment being a mandatory death penalty), revenge and the supernatural held its appeal to local audiences.


One Comment Add yours

  1. jonlwch says:

    The cinematography of the movie left much to be desired as the scares were cheap and relied on loud and jarring sounds with the rapid zoom to give the audience a scare. Personally I feel jump scares are the cheapest horror trope around. Horror is not just making the audience gasp or making their heart’s stop for a split second. It’s about the atmosphere created and how the combination of camera angles, lighting and props all come together in order to make the audience feel unsettled and uneasy. Creaky doors and superstitions may be decent starting points to base a movie around but falls flat when that’s all you have in your bag of tricks.


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