Film Reviews

GHOST BRIDE

By • Aug 20th, 2014 •

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There is a now time-honored tradition in a classic sub genre of horror films that deal with the vengeful spirits of women. These are women who have been wronged, or evil spirits that seek revenge. The best examples of these are THE UNINVITED from the forties, with two ghosts struggling in the afterlife for the soul of a young woman, THE WOMAN IN BLACK done twice now in Britain about a vengeful ghost trapped in a certain location, and of course GHOST STORY, in which a girl is drowned and comes back to curse the offspring of those who put her to death,

In David Blyth’s new film GHOST BRIDE we have a decidedly new spin on the avenging female ghost, this time drawing from the now popular Asian horror genre. The difference here is that the film does not take place in China or Japan, but New Zealand. David is a native and his films tend to reflect this more often than not. However the culture clash between East and West is relevant here to explain how a young man, played by newcomer Yosan An, who falls in love and marries a kiwi girl played by Rebekah Palmer, would even begin to involve himself with ancient Chinese folklore in the first place. You see his dying mother want to honor the spirit of his late father by organizing a traditional marriage with a girl of his own race.

GHOST BRIDE is not your by-the-numbers Horror film filled with sudden jolts or overdone with gore effects. GHOST BRIDE is a very moody meditation on the Asian tradition of supernatural horror that dates back to the 14th century of Noh and Kabuki legends and the retelling of the Kwaidan where female ghosts and revenge are widespread and accepted as time honored supernatural thrillers. These female ghosts represent a culture that allows for the patriarchal dominance to exist and women have suffered for it ever since.

It is refreshing to see this material done without relying on RING type female ghosts with long black hair and one staring eye. In GHOST BRIDE we have a brightly colored phantom lady that still has the power to frighten this young couple as they try to rid themselves of her presence once and for all.

The film opens with a poem that sets the mood for what is to follow for these doomed newly weds: marriage it seems can exist between the living and the dead, for love and marriage are eternal, or so says Madam Yin played by Gelling Ng Ching who I thought looked familiar, and then I discovered she had played the title role of CHINA GIRL in the David Bowie music video that aired non-stop for years.

I don’t want to give too much away by recounting plot points – just remember that there is a dreadful price to pay for refusing to honor tradition in certain cultures. If you are to enjoy David Blyth’s stylish exercise in the supernatural you must allow the film to unfold around you like a midnight swim into uncharted waters, until the moment you realize you might not survive the outcome.

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