Director: Teng Huatao
Starring: Leon Lai, Rene Liu, Fan Bingbing
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: www.hbpictures.com
Opening Day: 8 Feb 2007
How much can you love someone?
you stay together in times of joy and in times of sorrow,
for better or for worse?
you give up everything and risk your life?
about selling your soul and cutting a deal with the ghost?
is exactly what Sansan does. She is so madly in love with
Junchu that she decides to befriend the dead Manli. Little
does Sansan know that the day she succumbs to curiosity and
opens her heart to Manli is the day that will change her life
There are movies which the ending just ruins it all, because,
at the end, the filmmakers want you to know that all that
you sat and endured through wasn’t real. It was a dream…
or a story. The Matrimony is one such movie. And the worst
part of it? The ride wasn’t even enjoyable in the first
many other horror movies, The Matrimony uses the theme of
undying love to justify the presence of the dead haunting
the undead. And like many other horror movies, there are many
familiar elements that fans of the genre will recognize, like
the woman in long hair dressed in red, or the dark attic at
the top of the stairs where strange noises emanate from.
its credit, the movie does boast some excellent production
values. The art direction is something to watch for, especially
with the use of colours and their contrast. Similarly, much
effort has been put in to recreate the mood and feel of 1930s
China. All this is beautifully captured by Mark Lee’s
these aspects are wasted on a story with little originality
and a buildup that eventually amounts to naught. Moving amiably
during its first hour, the story only picks up with more suspense
and tension during the last half an hour. While this is somewhat
riveting to watch, there are few surprises where the events
are leading to. As if realizing that this is the case, the
screenwriters decide to rewind the proceedings and start back
at zero which in my opinion totally ruins the movie.
actors do little to enliven the story. Leon Lai carries a
stoned expression for the most part of the film. No doubt
the character is mourning the death of his loved one, but
there is a difference between acting and stoning and Leon
Lai’s performance sadly reflects the latter. Rene Liu
is as reliable an actress as ever, but the story does not
give her much to do except play the subservient wife whose
dedication to her husband leads her to make sacrifices with
there was much anticipation when the movie was released in
cinemas as it had the rare distinction of being one of the
few ghost movies to emerge out of mainland China. Moreover,
it came out of the reputable Huayi Brothers studio. But good
technical values do not and cannot save a by-the-numbers plot
and a cop out of an ending of The Matrimony.
this is the kind of ghost movie that mainland China is going
to churn out, they will be better off hedging their bets on
Review by Gabriel Chong