Shudder recently revealed the trailer for the acclaimed South African writer/director Jenna Cato Bassit is (High Fantasy, Flat Earth) new horror movie good lady, a film that openly probes the deep fears of South African culture. A Shudder original and the fourth film in Bass’ loaded catalog, the film had its world premiere in 2021 at the Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews. The trailer gives the rest of the world a glimpse of the film, which puts conventional horror front and center and teases the terrifying titular Madame (Jennifer Boraine).
The general premise of the film is established succinctly in the first half of the trailer. Tsidi (Chumisa Cosa), a single mother, temporarily moves in with her mother Mavis (Nosipho Mtebe) who works as a home maid for a white woman, known only as Madame, who is catatonic. Obviously, Mavis is incredibly afraid of Madame, given her aggressiveness in cleaning and her insistence on Tsidi and her child on the rules of the house – not to run, not to touch the refrigerator and above all, not to put feet in Madame’s room. . We see why she is so terrified as bad energy permeates the house. Tsidi describes how the house dislikes Mavis and how Madame, supposedly on the count, always seems present in the house.
Through this, good lady also shows the weight of culture on the backs of Mavis and Tsidi. The film seeks to comment on the state of South Africa in the years following the end of apartheid, a system that essentially declared that all non-white South Africans lack basic human rights. Mavis still lives by this system she’s followed all her life and parts of the trailer show how it’s almost become second nature to her to serve her Madam. The forces of oppression are scarier than any supernatural spirit or element in this teaser because they have struck terror into Mavis and, by proxy, her family.
Alongside Cosa, Mtebe and Boraine, good lady also stars Kamvalethu Jonas Raziya, Sanda Shandou, Khanyiso Kenqa, Sizwe Ginger Lubengu, Siya Sikawati, Peggy Tunyiswaand Chris Gxalaba. Cosa also writes alongside Cato Bass and Babalwa Baartman. Fox Fire Films, Sanusi Chronicles and Causeway Films produced the film with Salmira Productions and Strange Charm. Kristina Ceytonwho also produced The Babadook and The Nightingalewas a producer here with Baartman, Cato Bass and Samantha Jennings (Cargo). Executive producers include Salman Al-Rashid, Sam Frohman, Richard Mansell, David Bassand Jason Newmark.
Cato Bass is a big name on the festival circuit after receiving awards buzz for his other feature films starting with love the one you love. Written and directed solely by Cato Bass, the film earned five wins at several international festivals, paving the way for him as an established filmmaker. She followed with high fantasy and Flat terrainboth of which received similar praise.
good lady arrives at Shudder on July 14. Watch the trailer below to see Madame’s specter begin to stir: