Showing at Screamfest from writer/director Bradley Katzen and Level 3 Entertainment is the look at finding good housekeeping with THE DOMESTIC.
Kat (Thuli Thabethe) and husband Tumi (Tumisho Masha) are a busy power couple that do not have time for the domesticity of life. For year their housekeeper Martha took care of their home but recently passed. At the funeral they reacquaint with Martha’s daughter Blessing (Amanda Du-Pont) now that she is all grown up.
Kat invites the young woman to come by their home to retrieve her mother’s belongings, Kat and Tumi decide to ask Blessing if she wants to try at the position of their housekeeper. Eager to accept, Blessing takes up her mother’s old room and settles in. Quickly a few things become clear, Blessing is not a very good cook and she practices the rituals of the ancestors.
Deciding to give her thirty days to improve, Kat becomes upset when she witnesses Blessing doing a cleansing ritual in the home. She is upset because Kat takes medication that keeps her own ancestral gifts dormant.
Things begins to take odd twists and turns as Blessing situates herself in the home. Husband Tumi begins to have more success at work but Kat is still uncomfortable but can not explain why. Then everything turns upside down as it becomes clear what is happening but, more importantly, why it is happening and only Kat can stop it.
Thabethe as Kat is a woman trying to forget where she has come from and the beliefs that even her mother embraces. Instead, she drugs herself into living into this world she has created with her husband. It isn’t until Blessing shows up does Kat realize that you can run but you can’t hide.
Masha as Tumi is a husband going through tough times at work but also worrying about his wife. Trying to give Blessing an opportunity to succeed, he does not see what Kat does and brushes it away as his wife being a big jealous of the new domestic. Is that the case? See for yourself.
Du-Pont as Blessing is shy, demure and keenly aware of who and what Kat is capable of. Watching her move in and out of the spiritual world with ease keeps her below the radar of what she is really up to. She is so good at being so very bad.
THE DOMESTIC is a film from South Africa and falls beautifully in the horror film genre. It is slow in its telling but that makes the ending much more delicious. There is not a lot of outside scenery to take away from the story that writer/director Katzen is telling. Instead, he lets the actors take their characters and run like thoroughbreds!
Taking the ancestral story of a healer against a person that just wants power for the sake of power, the confrontation between Kat and Blessing is inevitable and I could literally not wait for that to happen. Well done to all!
In the end – home is where the horror is!