Toshi At The Movies: Chito Rono’s The Ghost Bride

Enter the world of a forbidden Chinese tradition in master director Chito Rono’s latest opus The Ghost Bride, a story of a young Chinese-Filipino woman making a crucial life choice, a woman who is confronted with the fact that their current financial situation is not enough to keep them afloat. Mayen comes from a family of Chinese street opera performers, itself a dying tradition & the demand for their perfomances are nil. Because of their current money woes & her father getting sick, she reluctantly accepts a business proposition from a mysterious woman who works as a matchmaker of women for a wealthy but dead Chinese groom, a long forgotten yet forbidden Chinese tradition. A series of supernatural events unfold one after the other, and Mayen has to find a way to end the curse that is attached with being the “ghost bride”. I consider this film more of a horror/fantasy than a straight up horror film. Chito Roño’s mastery of the horror/fantasy genre is on full display in this film, he navigates in the genre with his distinct touch, mixing mayhem with stunning visuals. In her first solo starrer, Kim Chiu (@chinitaprincess) gives an outstanding performance as Mayen, probably her best performance to date. She carried much of the film on her shoulders & she did so like a graceful wu xia. She is both brave & fragile at the same time & succeeds in making the audience root for her. Alice Dixson (@alicedixson) also delivers a highly commendable performance as Angie Lao, the mysterious matchmaker from hell. Although I had an issue with her phony Chinese accent, the mystery & sophistication she put in her character more than made up for it. Veteran comedienne Beverly Salviejo is also revealing as Mayen’s psychologically challenged aunt who can see spirits. Some key scenes were shot in Nepal & I expected some scenes shot along the streets of Kathmandu but unfortunately, there was none (save for that scene at a hill with a view of Mt. Everest). The Ghost Bride may not be up there with likes of other Chito Roño horror flicks like Feng Shui, Sukob, The Healing & Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara but it is still a memorable film that’s worth watching. 8 out of 10 popcorns.

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