Urban landscape photog Lucas Jodogne is the real star of “The Maid,” an OK Singapore ghost movie that’s elevated way above its thin script by the Belgian-born lenser’s visuals. Slow-burning second feature by former film critic Kelvin Tong, who bowed with the interesting youth pic “Eating Air” in 1999, finally delivers some genre goods but will mostly interest Asiaphile auds. Good-looking low-budgeter ($900,000) performed well in Singapore and Malaysia last August.
Filipina-Italian actress Alessandra De Rossi (“Small Voices”) plays shy Rosa Dimaano, 18, who arrives to work as a maid for the Teo family (Chen Shu-cheng, Hong Hui-fang), owners of a Teochew Opera troupe. Unfortunately, it’s the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the Hungry Ghost Month, when the Gates of Hell open for 30 days and unappeased spirits prowl the land. Soon, Rosa is seeing ghosts everywhere and is mistaken for an earlier maid who mysteriously disappeared. Jodogne’s immaculate compositions and pic’s mix of dialects capture a recognizable Singapore, though the glammed-down De Rossi doesn’t have much to do except scream. Creepy-crawly music is mostly orchestrated sound effects.