Skip to main content

tobysoar
15th October 2018

Grimmfest 2018: The Cleaning Lady Review

Part-home invasion horror, part-jealousy melodrama, The Cleaning Lady is a an initially shocking film that struggles to stand out in its genre
Categories:
TLDR
Grimmfest 2018: The Cleaning Lady Review
Photo: Grimmfest

Part-home invasion horror, part-jealousy melodrama, The Cleaning Lady is a an initially shocking film, yet ultimately struggles to stand out in its genre.

A slow pace that feels tedious at times is remedied by the twisted handling of dark themes that could sicken even the strongest of stomachs. But leaves you with a feeling that something is missing.

According to the pre-film message by director and screenwriter Jon Knautz, the idea for this film had been in his mind for over a decade. It shows in the dark themes presented to the viewer; it is clearly premeditated. He tells the story of Alice (Alexis Kendra) a basic Los Angeles girl who is tied up in an affair with a married man. She befriends her cleaner, Shelly (Rachel Alig), whose face is scarred by burns. This premise sets up an interesting dynamic between the two, with Alice taking pity upon Shelly, and Shelly being portrayed as a twisted, strange person with a tormented past.

SPOILERS AHEAD: Shelly’s facial scarring is the result of an altercation she had as a teenager with a client of her mother’s. Her rebellion is warranted because she is being illegally prostituted by her bipolar, manipulative mother as a way to earn a living without lifting a finger herself.

The violence portrayed in the film plays a large role in the shock value as well. However, it is just that, a momentary shock to the system that doesn’t hang around. Mediocre writing and a bog-standard, forgettable soundtrack fail to create a story.

To its credit, The Cleaning Lady has creative cinematography that has been carefully crafted to created a feeling of claustrophobia. Much like Alice, the viewer is stuck in a microcosm of insignificant worries echoing off the walls of the small rooms.

Despite its slow pacing, subpar acting and uninteresting soundtrack, Knautz’s film delivers a unique take on a story of jealousy and lost youth with well-executed horror techniques. The story might not be a permanent chemical burn but, at least, it might leave a temporary blister.

The Cleaning Lady was shown at Grimmfest 2018. At the time of writing, the film has not been released in UK cinemas and is unavailable online.

Rating: 3/5


More Coverage

The Promised Land review: Man on the moor

This rugged tale of Danish frontier settlement is also a story of struggle – against the land, entrenched hierarchies, and within oneself

Opinion: Every Best Picture winner of the 21st century, ranked from worst to best

With the 96th Academy Awards looming, let’s look back at this century’s winners of the big grand prize of Best Picture

Do Unto Others review: A harrowing look into the unjust world of elderly care

A dissection of the choices we make and the motives behind them, Tetsu Maeda’s film analyses the state of elderly care in Japan through a whodunit thriller

What TV show and film you should watch next based on your star sign

If you’re wondering what to watch next on your study breaks, then look no further because the Mancunion has a carefully curated list of film and TV recommendations based on your star sign