Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Julia, Michael and Istvan. Now this is one twisted love triangle. Julia is a chambermaid who'll do anything (and apparently anyone) to stay out of jail and make money for her druggie boyfriend, Istvan. Michael is her repressed boss with a taste for raping comatose girls and some serious mother issues. Join our unhappy trio as they skip down the road of betrayal, murder, overacting, manipulation, and a really fun game called "who's screwing who?".
Is it good movie?
This one is billed as an "erotic horror/thriller", and I'm sorry, but there is nothing horrific or thrilling about it. As well, it's not very erotic... well unless you count the numerous boobshots provided by actress Fiona Horsey, which sadly aren't enough to cover up her horrible acting. She has some moments, but the bad outweighs the good here. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the bad acting make the movie entertaining. Especially the part when she realizes that her boss has been sedating her and violating her pretty self, the same boss who's she's been manipulating into not having her arrested (because she jacked off a hotel guest for money and got caught by the dude's wife) by, of all things, pretending to have a relationship with him (confused yet?). Her temper tantrum is absolutely hilarious. The other actors fare little better. The poor dude playing Michael can do creepy really well, but he has a serious amount of work to do before he'll ever be menacing. And Istvan never really does anything (including play the guitar convincingly!)
The look and feel of the flick itself is nothing to write home about either. While I dig British thrillers and their quirky sense of humour like a rabid ghoul with his own private graveyard, this one felt a little too static for me. Director Wolfgang Büld doesn't really do much with the camera, keeping it simple. At times this works for a scene, but mostly it's just visually boring. There is no tension to the story, because there is nothing on the screen to draw in the eye (aside from the above mentioned boobs, but that's another story). There was a good idea behind this movie, and everyone was fairly enthused about what they were doing, but the flops and foibles of not enough camera work, bad acting and lack of story pacing make this movie rather stale. Some of the comedy bits were quite well done, as were the romance scenes between Julia and Michael (in my opinion the only truly convincing acting in the whole flick), it's just too bad the rest of the film was there too to drag them down.
But it wasn't all bad. Like I said, the premise was cool. The music was great, and some of the effects were nicely done (with the exception of the corpses... I'm fairly certain a dead person isn't supposed to blink and move their eyeballs when someone touches their face unless it's followed by some serious gutmunching and a whole lot of screaming!). While the ending was predictable and a little weak, it was a nice end note on the story. If the whole affair had been handled better (and with more talent), I'd still be in bed with this one. As it was, I found myself only mildly interested, mostly by the depths that the characters would go to in order to get their own way. The character of Julia has to be one of the most unlikable women I've ever seen in a film, and if this was a deliberate result engineered by Büld and Horsey, then Kudo's to them! Otherwise, I would have been more satisfied with an amped up level of fear, tension and degredation, and maybe even a balls-out Ritchie or Tarantino style ending where no one comes out alive. Instead, we are left with a slightly interesting, but mostly sub-par, attempt at a thriller.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1.
Audio: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
The Chambermaid is a seriously messed up British soap opera that tries to be a thriller/comedy, with a little blood, a little nudity, a few chuckles and very little talent or brains. There is promise here somewhere, and I would like to see more from some of the folks involved just to see if this was was a one time flop. While there was some talent displayed in parts and it did have it's moments where it could have become something cool and brilliant, mostly the movie was just a mess of scenes that didn't fit, marred by poor acting (or was it poor writing?), boring direction and a predictable story. I wanted to like it, and in some parts it was quirky enough that I actually started to, but it just wasn't worth the time.