The Matrimony 心中有鬼 (2007) – China

A par better than the usual HK horror/thriller…

Matrimony probably does not qualify as a horror, but that does mean it hasn’t surpassed the 2007 duo in the wholly average The Haunted School and the woeful shit in House of the Invisibles, in terms of thrills. While Matrimony stands well as a thriller, there are some moments of frights and suspenseful moment that made the movie stands up from the pack of average attempts. With a photogenic cast of Leon Lai, Rene Liu and the irresistible Fan Bing Bing, there is no question that Matrimony is great to look at and full credit to the producer and director for creating a thrilling 84 minutes for the starving audience. It’s true that Matrimony probably will not be remembered once the date hits 2008, but it is easily a better than expected movie fair and certainly one that is a par better than the mentioned predecessors

The movie goes like this: Leon Lai loses the love of his life in an accident and from there goes the story of a ghost who is unwilling to let go and in the process encountering the troubles and problems of Leon in accepting a new girl in his life…

It is a switch and a turn of a performance from the webmaster’s favourite Fan Bing Bing, who ditched her beautiful and modern girl attitude for an evil spirit role. There is no denying that Fan Bing Bing is beautiful and her big eyes and great body shape is worthy of commendation, but rarely is she given such a juicy role as this and fortunately she doesn’t disappoint. In perhaps, her best ever performance, it ironically comes at her ugliness look and aided by make up and special effects, the moment when she scared the hell out of Leon’s mum, is probably more frightening than 10 normal HK horror movies. Adding to the mix is yet another engaging performance from Rene Liu, but it must be noted that she does not look like a 20 something and the fact that she is 40 and Fan Bing Bing is closer to 20, it is hard to cheat the audience. Still, a fine and captivating display, despite the role seems to be something that she has done numerous times before.

Moving on to the performance to the heavenly king, Leon Lai, it must be said that the two actresses overshadowed his regretful and depressed performance. While Leon have improved from his blank delivery days as seen in Infernal Affairs 3, where he tackled a difficult character with a level of distinction, the same can not be said here. Lai is unable to connect to the audience and at times he seems more distant than relating, perhaps it is due to the script, but it ends up a rather disappointing display.

All in all, Matrimony is certainly a film that is beautiful to look at and the case of Fan Bing Bing and Rene Liu is definitely a pleasure to watch. Credit must be given to both the director and producer for creating an atmosphere and surrounding that settled up the movie. Instead of going down the path of cheesiness, Martimony comes off a thrilling 84 minutes and with such a short running time, the film moves along at a brisk pace. With enough thrills, mysteriousness and a spice of sexiness, Matrimony easily stands a par above the pack of 2007 HK’s horror/thriller and for only 84 minutes, you can certainly do a lot worst than watching this. Finishing off, fans of Fan Bing Bing be warned, seeing this may spoil your dream tonight, but Neo still doesn’t mind either way…

I rate it 7.75/10

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