The highly rated director of The Shrine returns in an odd mix of a horror that needed a bit more polish and scrub!
There are a few directors out there that just by the hearing that they are behind the camera, makes it a film I need to watch! John Knautz is one of those on the list!
With The Shrine becoming one of my favourite horror films of the last decade, The Cleaning lady arrives on my desk with a huge amount of excitement and for the majority of the time, Knautz once more displays why he is one of the most talent directors out there.
With no scary statue in sight, The Cleaning Lady is a stripped back to the basics horror that shows great restrain for most of its running time.
Alexis Kendra who also co-wrote the script plays the likeable Alice, a confused unhappy woman trapped in an affair with a married man who befriends her cleaning lady. a badly scarred Shelly ( Rachel Alig), a social outcast who Alice just wants to help.
Its the opening slow burn first hour that the film sparkles. The chemistry between the two characters is spell-blinding and while many will question “is this a horror”, there is a sense of dread throughout that dilutes what seems to be a cute friendship developing between the two.
When Alice takes a bath and Shelly looks from afar, we begin to suspect that something is not right here and how did she actually get those scars? That backstory is probably the most horrific part of the film and had me shaking my head at the whole horrid tale, but while we could easily sympathise with Shelly, the script wonderfully keeps as aware that its Alice who we should be supporting, especially when the film slips into second gear in the final half.
Its here sadly that the film loses all its good work. While The Shrine benefited brilliantly from a stunning unexpected twist that flipped the entire genre of what we were watching, The Cleaning Lady fails in its final approach.
Its like Knautz needed to offer its viewer the necessary horror moments to appease the crowd and while that is fine, its a shame the result is a tiresome , seen it all before climatic torture porn that fails to satisfy the needs, simply because the build up before it was fantastic!
With an abrupt ending that will leave many frustrated, The Cleaning Lady had so much going for it, but at the end of day once the credits roll, you realise it needed a bit more elbow grease and a bit more polish before we could be deeply satisfied with the job…..
3 Hatchets Out Of 5