Thursday, December 26, 2013

Film Review: The Matrimony (2007)

The Matrimony (Review)
China/2007
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a slow-burn horror film with great immersion and some solid suspense..."

When his soon-to-be fiancé, Manli (Fan Bingbing), dies in a car accident, cinematographer Shen Junchu (Leon Lai) has difficulties moving on. However, Shen's ill mother convinces him to marry a humble young woman named Sansan (Rene Liu) against his will.

The Matrimony continues to show Shen and Sansan's dysfunctional relationship -- Shen doesn't want to move on despite Sansan's willingness, humbleness, and profuse love. With odd noised and events occurring, Sansan eventually comes into contact with Manli's ghost, who is not malevolent. In fact, she wants to help Shen moving on by briefly possessing Sansan, as well as giving her some pointers. Anyway, this love triangle has frightening consequences when one's intentions aren't as honest as originally believed. The ending is frustratingly difficult, but you can consider it open for interpretation.

The Matrimony is a beautiful tale of love, life, death, and regret -- with a ghostly twist. A classic ghost story with an actual story. No, this isn't another furniture-moving, fridge-checking ghost walking around a large home, this is a ghost with actual intentions and character. This is a slow-burn horror film with great immersion and some solid suspense which leads to some equally decent jump-scares. Therefore, expect a slowly paced yet beautifully crafted horror film. The film does stumble a bit during the final act, but it is ultimately enjoyable from beginning to end. Depending on how much weight you give an ending, it can possible break the film.

The cast is wonderful, they really immerse themselves into this time period. I really enjoyed Rene Liu performance, a real standout. The setting is beautifully captured through the wonderful cinematography and camerawork. The music is also very effective in creating an atmosphere and creating the "slow-burn" feel. Although not heavy on special effects, they're mostly great; the introduction does feature some poor special effects, otherwise, they are used conservatively and well. Hua-Tao Teng's direction is great, the writing could use some work -- the ending could've had a better presentation or even some clarification.

Overall, The Matrimony is a great slow-burn horror film with well-crafted romance elements. The film is unique in an industry filled with ghost films. Being a sucker of Asian ghost films, I really enjoyed it and I think you will too, at least if you're into Asian horror and slow-burns.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood.

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