The Maid 女佣

The Maid Teaser PosterThe Maid Poster

During the Chinese Seventh Month, the gates of hell open and spirits are let loose upon an unsuspecting world.

For 30 days, the dead walk among the living.

To protect themselves, mortals devise rules.

Rules such as-Do not swim during the Seventh Month; do not turn back at night when someone calls out your name; do not talk to strangers on a deserted stretch of road.

For Rosa Dimaano (superstar Alessandra De Rossi), all those are just a bunch of old wives’ tales.

Hailing from a small village in the Philippines, the 18-year-old arrives in Singapore on the first day of the Seventh Month to work as a domestic maid.

She urgently needs money to save her ill brother back home in the Philippines and ghosts are the last things on her mind.

Happily for Rosa, life in Singapore cannot be rosier.

Her employers–the elderly and gentle Mr and Mrs Teo (veterans Chen Shu Cheng and Hong Hui Fang)–are a godsend, caring for her as if she is their own daughter.

Their mentally-handicapped son Ah Soon (newcomer Benny Soh) also takes to Rosa immediately.

Between cleaning house and helping the Teos out at their Chinese opera workplace, Rosa experiences the exotic sights and sounds of Singapore to her delight.

Then, things start going amiss.

Glimpsing strange apparitions at night, Rosa soon finds herself tumbling into the world of the dead.

Unknown to the innocent girl, she had unwittingly broken many rules on the first few days of the Seventh Month.

As the festivities reach a fever pitch in Singapore, Rosa’s life turns into a nightmare.

A mutilated boy haunts her.

A faceless woman appears in the Teos’ house.

Rosa feels as if she is losing her mind.

Her employers urge her to bear with the sightings.

But Rosa is uncertain.

Someone somewhere seems to be trying to reach out to her.

To keep her job, the poor girl has to stifle her screams and fear.

To save her brother, she must survive the terrors of the Chinese Seventh Month.

 

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

 

Maids.

They are seen all over Asia but they are rarely heard.

Working far away from home, these women toil day and night to earn a meager living, suffering many untold abuses.

Which makes them perfect as subjects for a horror film.

Horror films are built upon the pillars of isolation, unseen dangers and unspoken terror.

Maids are cut off from their loved ones, thrust into alien surroundings, expected to share a roof with strangers and then act as if everything is normal. It is an extraordinary predicament.

Imagine then, supernatural and freakish things start happening someone as isolated as a maid. Who can she turn to? When danger and terror mounts, she can’t even scream, for fear of losing her precious job.

When Raintree Pictures approached me to make a picture late 2004, I thought it was a good opportunity to make an uniquely Singaporean horror film about a Filipino maid.

To kickstart the horror element, we decided to have her arrive in Singapore on the first day of the Chinese Seventh Month, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival – a period in which ghouls are released from Hell for a month of chaos.

From conception to completion, my desire was always to tell an universal story while maintaining Singaporean elements.

Hopefully, audiences everywhere will be drawn into the skittish eyes of the maid and see the terror tearing her up from within.

 

PRODUCTION DETAILS

 

THE MAID is a colourful and downright creepy spookfest replete with Teochew opera, freaked-out Filipino maids and haunting Seventh-month vibes. Story starts with a Filipino maid starting work with an opera troupe family on the first day of the Chinese Seventh Month, also known as the Hungry Ghosts Festival. Oblivious to the Chinese traditional customs during the Seventh Month, she trespasses onto the spiritual boundaries and begins her series of strange encounters.

“After producing over 15 movies, including the successful THE EYE and THE EYE 2, we feel confident to work with a local director on a local story to produce our very own horror genre. We hope to offer to the international horror fans what THE RING and NANGNAK did, but we hope to do so with a Singapore edge,” says Daniel Yun, CEO MediaCorp Raintree Pictures and Executive Producer of the movie.

THE MAID is the first regional collaboration involving the Hong Kong’s Dream Movie Entertainment Overseas Limited, Philippines’ MovPix International Inc. and Singapore’s Media Development Authority with MediaCorp Raintree Pictures driving the production in Singapore. It will also be the second film to be produced under the MDA-MediaCorp Raintree Pictures 10-Movie Memorandum Of Understanding.

Helming the production will be Singaporean director Kelvin Tong, best known for his award-winning movie EATING AIR. Kelvin is a brand name in cutting-edge Singapore cinema. THE MAID will be Kelvin’s first attempt at the horror genre.

Alessandra De Rossi, an award winning Filipino actress, will be the leading actress in this movie. At only 20 years of age, Alessandra has already received the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in the Philippine movie HUBOG and was nominated in the Best Actress category at virtually all the film festivals in which the film premiered for SMALL VOICES.

THE MAID will also star MediaCorp artistes Chen Shu Cheng, Hong Hui Fang and local newcomer Benny Soh. This will be Shu Cheng’s first leading role in a movie and Hui Fang’s second movie after her debut in THAT ONE NOT ENOUGH.

The movie will be shot on 35 mm and filmed entirely in Singapore. Principle photography began on 20 September 2004 and lasted for 35 days.

 

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~ by kelvintong on August 18, 2005.

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