The Matrimony

Director: Hua-Tao Eng (2007)
Starring: Bingbing Fan, Leon Lai, Rene Liu
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

A stylish but nontheless silly ghost story, The Matrimony sees a woman team up with the ghost of her husband's one-time girlfriend in the hope of cheering the poor bloke up. Why they'd do such a thing is unclear. He married a different woman less than a year after losing his missus. Clearly he is a bit of a dick and neither woman should want anything to do with him.

But both women love him, despite Junchu's flaws and creepy attic full of his Dead Girlfriend's crap. Dead Girlfriend and Miserable Wife join forces, with Dead Girlfriend temporarily possessing Miserable Wife to show Junchu that Miserable Wife can be cool too. Obviously no good can come of this.

Set in 1930s China, The Matrimony is very pretty. I don't usually notice such things, but the dresses in this movie are very nice, as is the opening bicycle sequence and a snowy boat ride. It's all a bit fairytale, which is a good look for a film like The Matrimony to have. The romantic scenes are quite charming and cute. The ghost stuff, meanwhile, is spooky but not remotely scary. There's the most unintentionally funny car crash I've ever seen and then a bit where Miserable Wife vomits in her Mother In Law's face.

A supernatural remake (in all but name) of Hitchcock's Rebecca, it'll win no prizes for originality. The story is good but never gripping. Both actresses do their respective jobs well (with Miserable Wife doing an exceptionally good line in looking scared) and Jinchu is sympathetic despite acting like a dickhead all the time.

A leftover from 2007, The Matrimony has only just found itself a Tartan Asia Extreme release. Ignore the rubbish packaging, which suggests something Saw, and instead check it out if you're after something safe, sweet and surprisingly likeable.

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