Taking place in Vietnam, in 1953, «The Housemaid» tells the story of Linh, a young girl looking for work after loosing everything in the bombings in the Indochinese War. After talking with some of the local folk, Linh arrives at the rubber plantation called «Sa-Cat», after applying for the housemaid position, she barely ends up been hired on a trial basis.
Since her arrival at Sa-Cat, Linh starts to hear strange whispers on the mansion, and her eyes seems to be playing tricks on her, since she believes to see someone roaming the corridors, when nobody is supposed be around. Soon after that, Linh learns the dark story of the plantation, and that most of the locals tend to avoid it due rumors that many workers in the past died of torture and abuse at the hands of previous owners of the plantation. However, is only after Linh meets Captain Sebastian, the french owner of Sa-Cat, that her life starts to be in danger, since Madame Camille, Sebastian’s deceased wife, has returned from the grave, infuriated by the attention the girl has been receiving.
«The Housemaid» is interesting and entertaining, specially for a film coming from a country that does not release that many horror titles at all (In contrast with China and Japan, where horror fans are most used to get their Asian horror fix) Still I would label this movie as more of a Drama with a supernatural tones than horror (Think more of «Crimson Peak» and not so much of «Insidious»), but still manages to create a tense atmosphere and to give us a couple of scares. Unfortunately, it also has some moments that feel tired and too common because we have seen it too much recently in occidental films: as you might guess, I am talking about the over use of jump scares, some of them lead to nothing, others do not even have any reason to be there.
The film is well shot and the story takes its time to let us learn about the history of the plantation as well of the nature of the people working there. Without being preachy, the film also shows the necessary political context of the times so we can understand the though situations some characters went trough, and where the monsters are really hiding.