In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, there was a huge appetite for Asian horror movies with films such as The Ring, The Grudge, The Eye and Dark Water all proving very popular in the West, so popular in fact that Hollywood remade a lot of them with a typically bad result. Since those days there have not been many releases but now we have an interesting film released by Eureka (Montage Pictures) and set in Vietnam called The Housemaid. (Co Hau Gai).
Linh is a docile and hardworking poor orphaned girl who comes to Sa Cat seeking a housemaid job. Sebastien Laurent is a French captain and owner of the Sa Cat rubber plantation. For years, the massive mansion is rumoured to have ghosts, particularly those of Camille Sebastien’s late wife and the mistreated plantation workers. Once Linh comes to Sa Cat, she begins to hear strange sounds, have frightening dreams, and witness bizarre occurrences. After some time, Linh and Captain Laurent become close to each other and develop a romance. However, their love soon awakens the vengeful souls of Sa Cat plantation.
Set during the Indo-Chinese war in 1953 the film starts out as a mixture of horror and romance as the maid and owner fall for each other but the tension grows as the murders increase, it’s a slow measured build up and the end twist comes as a big surprise, even for me the jaded horror movie lover, did not see it coming.
Up until the last 15 or so minutes, there are plenty of jump scares a little gore but nothing really you have not seen before even though it is very well made and shot and the very good music score by Jerome Leroy, who did The Hunger Games among others, sets the mood of dread and tension. One thing that did bug me a little was if the officer who owned the mansion and his wife and colleagues were French why were they speaking to each other in English? The film is mostly subtitled anyway for the Vietnamese dialogue so it would not have affected that side of it at all.
The Blu ray released by Eureka has a very good 1080p transfer with a solid transfer, nothing to complain about at all. The audio was also excellent with good use of surround activity but be warned, you may find yourself turning the volume up to hear some of the dialogue only to be blasted when a shocking moment occurs!
Extras are just a trailer. An interesting story, well acted in the main with a great ending The Housemaid is definitely worth checking out.
FILM: 7.5 PICTURE: 8 AUDIO: 8 EXTRAS: 1