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Jon Knautz made his feature debut in 2007 with Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. Since then, he’s delivered a collection of features and shorts that cover many different topics. So many that it’s easy to not associate them with the same writer/director. His most recent film, The Cleaning Lady, sees him reuniting with Alexis Kendra to expand their short version of the story. They previously co-wrote The Goddess Of Love, and she’s appeared in several others of his films.

Alice (Alexis Kendra, Girl House, Big Ass Spider) is trying to break up with her married lover Michael (Stelio Savante, Death House). This is easier said than done as she has addiction issues, including “love addiction”. Shelly (Rachel Alig, Verotika, Chase) is a badly burned maintenance person in Alice’s apartment building. Alice hires her to clean her apartment, and the two become friends. But just like Alice, Shelly has her own issues, and the physical scars she bears are not her worst scars either. She decides to help Alice and her sinful affair. By any means necessary.

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The Cleaning Lady opens with scenes involving mice and a blender. That should tell you this ben’t going to be a fun collection of jump scares. And it isn’t, The Cleaning Lady mixes psychologically disturbing elements with disturbingly nasty violence to create a film that isn’t easy to watch. An early version of the poster referred to it as “House Of Wax meets Audition” and that’s not too far from the film’s tone. I might replace House Of Wax with Single White Female, though.

Knautz and Kendra wisely flesh out both of the leads so we can feel a conflicting range of emotions for both of them. The flashbacks to Shelly’s childhood and the abuse she suffered help explain her actions. They humanize and give us some sympathy for what could easily have just been a female Jason. Fleshing out Alice, seeing that she does feel bad about her affair with Michael. That she wants to end it, but actually does love him. This makes her more sympathetic than the home wrecking bimbo she first appears to be. The fact that both women are troubled makes The Cleaning Lady that much more interesting.

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A grim film about the darker side of friendship, The Cleaning Lady will have you wondering about the motivations of some of your own friends. Or feeling thankful that you’re an antisocial hermit.

The Cleaning Lady will be available On Demand, Digital HD and DVD June 4, 2019, from RLJE Films.

YouTube video

Original short

Where to watch The Cleaning Lady
Our Score

6 thoughts on “THE CLEANING LADY (2018)”

  1. The Inner Circle

    RLJE Films has been on a strong run haven’t they? I think after IFC and Well Go USA,I look for their new releases whenever I visit my video store.

      1. The Inner Circle

        I daresay they have (for me anyways) overtaken A24 in terms of the quality of the films released.
        Which is your favorite studio,Jim?

        1. My favorite studio? That’s a hard one to say because they all seem to go through hot and cold streaks. RLJE would be in the running at the moment though.

          1. The Inner Circle

            RLJE is definitely Top 3 for me right now. Waiting to pick up “Dragged Across Concrete” when it dips a little in price at my video store. It sounds brutal and elegant….

            1. I can’t get worked up about that one. Just the fact that it’s 2 and a half hours long makes me keep putting it off

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