The Maid takes place in a sumptuous mansion, where Joy is the most recent maid in a high-turnover position. Upon her first introduction, she learns the rules of the house, most importantly: don’t pry into other’s personal business and don’t enter the mistress’s bedroom. The master (Nirach) and madam (Uma) have a daughter, Nid, with a mysterious mental condition similar to Alzheimer’s that manifests at a young age. The other staff members disregard Nid as “seeing things” and speak about her as if she weren’t even present. Such oddities factor into setting Joy on edge before she even begins to experience the supernatural, ala The Turn of the Screw.

The acting is on point, with many characters communicating with looks and body language between their words. The scenes between Savika Chaiyadej in the role of the madam and Ploy Sornarin, who plays as the maid Joy, are especially engaging. Savika nailed the disinterested, condescension required of Uma, while Ploy has mastered Joy’s try-too-hard, please everyone nature. Watching them combat each other is fascinating; characters are also dynamically emotional in performance, evolving as secrets are revealed.

As a fun element to costume design, nothing worn lacks style. Even the maid uniforms used are a deep royal blue with a slightly puffed sleeve and sateen sheen. The madam’s wardrobe is luxurious, featuring many structured cuts and bright reds as grandiose fashion. Even little Nid’s outfits are to be envied, highlighting soft hunter greens and whites in simple cottagecore- a fairytale style portraying her innocence perfectly. Each character is conveyed precisely by their wardrobe choices as an intriguing sartorial layer.  

The mansion and other settings are also characters in their own right, incorporating set designs which feel immersive and accentuated from cinematography honoring them. It’s easy to get sucked into the details awash in the production, feeling as if you are there and letting your eyes linger on the attentively tailored background.

The lighting is typically brighter than your average horror flick, allowing one to observe all of the sensuous details as a clever choice. Many chandeliers and other incidental lighting are used to immersive effect, but nearly always on top of overhead lighting for an illuminated setting. This greatly benefits the majority of scenes, but did lessen the scares deploying special effects.

Regrettably, the special effects will strike viewers differently. Most are practical, but the style is something that will be favorable to some and not as much for others. Far less successful than something along the lines of Shutter, the effects could be considered one of the film’s few weak points. However, with so many strong points, don’t let that deter you from choosing to sit down with this one.

The pacing holds steady, with a big reveal taking place halfway through completely shifts the lens and tone of the film. It quite works within the framework for The Maid, taking a fairly straightforward ghost flick and elevating it to something unique.

If you’re in the market for a new Thai horror and want something with flair, twists, and acting chops, take a look at The Maid. Frightfest featured it as part of their 2021 lineup for good reason. Step into the role of a maid and see how you fare in this satisfying, stylish thriller. 

 

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