There's something nicely kinky in this lusciously photographed erotic Korean thriller by Im Sang-soo - at least for those who don't compare it to the far kinkier, out-there 1960 original by Kim Ki-young.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
Mr. Im's voluptuous visual palette combined with the dexterity of his cast is enough to hold your interest and, at times, to make you hold your breath.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
The secret weapon of "The Housemaid'' - the reason it works at all - is Jeon in the title role.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Despite eccentric touches, like a handheld street-shot overture and Grand Guignol Omen references, there's little difference between this story and soap-opera intrigue.
Nicolas Rapold - Village Voice
This story is told by writer-director Im Sang-soo with cool, elegant cinematography and sinuous visual movements.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Sang-soo does with "The Housemaid" what many filmmakers do with remakes of influential genre films. He amps up the sex and smoothes down the stylistic edges of the original.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
The situation continues to fester, the balance of power shifts back and forth among some wonderfully defined characters.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
While the film grows increasingly preposterous in its final act, the enigmatic performances of Youn and Jeon carry the day.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
"The Housemaid" scores on so many levels it's hard to know where to begin.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Writer-director Im Sang-Soo injects a certain sense of otherworldliness in the proceedings -- the final scene is straight from David Lynchland --- which may not make things mesmerizing, but does deliver a consistently odd angle.
Tom Long - Detroit News
This high-end softcore thriller is juicily watchable from start to over-the-top finish, but its gleeful skewering of the upper classes comes off as curiously passe, a luxe exercise in one-note nastiness.
Justin Chang - Variety
It is beautifully shot, with impeccable acting and visual detail. Now, if someone will just explain the brief, head-scratching coda.
V.A. Musetto - New York Post
An unnecessary remake of Kim Ki-young's 1960 Korean masterpiece.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
A flamingly sexy soap opera whose satire on high society is sometimes as savage as Claude Chabrol's La ceremonie.
Maggie Lee - Hollywood Reporter
Even with the piece wobbling between dark psychology and campy soap, the cast is compelling as it navigates the uncertainty.
Sheri Linden - Los Angeles Times
Quick to show its characters' skin but less inclined to explore what lies beneath it.
Michael Nordine - Film Threat
With the honourable exception of a film-saving Byung-sik, the characters are too unpleasant and two-dimensional to keep it together.
Mayer Nissim - Digital Spy
...an echo of the 1960 film perhaps, but it's an echo that has been compressed and processed, run through the stomp box that is director Im Sang-soo's imagination.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Exudes a surreal sense of deranged domestic privilege.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
Im Sang-soo's The Housemaid either doesn't know what it wants to be, or is trying to be too many things at once. Few films can claim to be over-ambitious and half-hearted at the same time, but there you go.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
The graphic sex scenes radiate an uncommon heat, and Im can pull off a hugely effective shock when he wants to.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Can't touch the original's spiraling perversity
Fernando F. Croce - CinePassion
Evil seems to lurk in every shadowy corner and the director's choice of a primarily brown palette imposes a layer of foreboding over even the most apparently innocent of scenes.
Sarah Boslaugh - Playback:stl
The movie kowtows to the old truism that the rich are different - but it does it with a sardonic smile.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
The Housemaid isn't all that deep, but it's consistent fun, on the cusp between art and softcore nonsense.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
You can grin all the way through, but the satisfaction turns to ashes by the end.
Sam Adams - Philadelphia City Paper
It's like a contemporary, even more heightened version of one of those Bette Davis movies that still show up on late-night TV.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
"The Housemaid" glitters coldly, with its marble surfaces and scheming eyes, as it builds to its dramatic, unexpected climax.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Im creates a seductive and disquieting thriller in which overt violence is rare but ruthless manipulation and a callous lack of concern for people are commonplace.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
Never comes to an emotional boil.
Ignatiy Vishnevetsky - Ebert Presents At The Movies
This South Korean thriller owes a lot to the late Claude Chabrol - its damnation of the idle rich, its imprisoning interior designs, even poisoning - but Sang-soo Im doesn't delve as deeply as Chabrol could and his film eventually implodes.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Too many cell phones and I-pods makes for bad Feng Shui in this updated potboiler about a housemaid's job gone terribly wrong.
Ron Wilkinson - Monsters and Critics
As a statement on the decadence of the rich, Sang-soo's points are as subtle as a bottle of Cristal smashed over the head.
Ian Buckwalter - DCist
This compact, sophisticated chamber drama takes a significant place in the so-called Korean New Wave.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Not much of a statement on the privilege and entitlement of the upper class, though, when the maid isn't any more respectful of the boundaries of her employers than she is of theirs.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
It's a deliciously perverse melodrama.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
Im mostly keeps the outline of the plot and gives the tale a whole new spin.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
So immersed in the technical details - perfectly calibrated camera angles, meticulous lighting and the actors' lovingly regarded physicality - that the movie grows cold.
Robert Levin - amNewYork
Enjoyable, soapy, melodramatic schlock buoyed up by its great cast. Meditations on class disparities are worthy and often chilling, but our main subject's issues come off as contrivance and get in the viewers' way.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
The elevation of the family from middle-class strivers to stratospherically wealthy jerks removes any trace of political specificity, but also elevates it to the chilly realm of the fairy tale.
Jesse Cataldo - Slant Magazine
An often sexy and well-acted thriller, with rich bad people doing terrible things to nice poor ones.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
For all of its frankness, though, the film will feel something like a throwback,
Kent Turner - Film-Forward.com
Unless you feel compelled to see yet again what happens when a man has an affair with his servant, check out the original instead.
Sean Gandert - Paste Magazine
A chilling, intelligent and atmospheric thriller brimming with suspense, exquisite cinematography and a captivating performance by Jeon Do-yeon.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
Im Sang-soo has pulled out stops that you didn't even know he had, in ways that will shock and satisfy.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
[VIDEO] An exercise in stylistic suspense and erotic domination, "The Housemaid" brings its scathing brand of satire to a simmer and keeps it there.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
An engrossing South Korean morality play about the power, amorality, and the warped sense of entitlement of the very rich.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
cynicism balanced with ferocious melodrama and bold, sumptuous direction
Chris Cabin - Filmcritic.com
A study in decadence and aberrant psychology a la Bunuel and a more than able theatrical and VOD representative of one of Asia's cinema centers on the international rise.
Donald J. Levit - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
The Housemaid remains compelling mostly for Yun's performance, which is just as inscrutable, but ever-shifting-at times vaguely sinister, at others full of wisdom and quiet resolve.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
Im has a flair for highly controlled melodrama, and his visuals show a knife-edge precision: You could cut yourself on all these crisp shadows.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Never boring, but the overheated melodrama tends to turn the characters into cartoons.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
The perverse thing is that the film goes down so easily and elegantly, like a fine chocolate and a swig of merlot.
Bryant Frazer - Bryant Frazer's Deep Focus
Remake of much-admired 1960 drama about a maid who becomes her wealthy employer's toy and the dark consequences that ensue has some Chabrol and Hitchcock stamped all over it but not much underneath.
Doris Toumarkine - Film Journal International
Follows the basic blueprint of Kim's film; some of the particulars, however, have been monkeyed with, to mostly shallow effect.
Keith Uhlich - Time Out
Despite the advantage of copious nudity, the movie never raises its pulse above a frigid calm.
Vadim Rizov - Boxoffice Magazine
Im doesn't develop the by-now predictable plot, and the film's sedate pace stifles any suspense from this love triangle tinged with class anxiety.
Jon Frosch - France24
A good, juicy drama that takes a typical "Upstairs/Downstairs" tale and gives it a solid spin.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
Despite being 50 years since the release of the original Housemaid, this flesh-happy yet plain remake goes limp on subtext and presents few reasons why it thought it could take on the previous, harder-hitting version.
Zach Gibson - Empire Magazine Australasia
This is an enjoyable film that looks impressive, is technically accomplished and is suitably sexually charged. However, its social inequality message is very heavy-handed.
Thomas Caldwell - Cinema Autopsy
The film creates an effective atmosphere of brooding erotic menace without over-stepping the mark by becoming clumsy or ham-fisted.
Jim Schembri - The Age (Australia)
Its humour is twisted and biting, its aura sleek and erotically charged and full of menace, its images impeccably composed.
Philippa Hawker - The Age (Australia)
The Housemaid just feels rudely conceived, unresolved, and maybe a little confused about which among its many ideas and impulses are the most interesting.
Nick Davis - Nick's Flick Picks
- NOW Toronto
There is no chance whatsoever that the soapy, seedy 2010 version will resonate with audiences at home or abroad in the same way that the 1960 film did.
Simon Foster - sbs.com.au