Ghost Bride is let down by uninvolved storytelling but impresses with decent performances by newbies.
I'm a fan of Asian cinema and when this David Blyth, Asian-like ghost story came to my attention, I thought I might enjoy it. I've only seen a couple of Blyth's other efforts with the New Zealander known for his controversial filmmaking, like the utterly weird Angel Mine, that was famous for having a naked woman sitting on a toilet propped on a beach (and can be seen by clicking here), or the outlandish horror, Wound. I guess you could say the low-budget filmmaker isn't afraid to experiment, however, Ghost Bride is more of a traditional affair for Blyth, if you can call a fantasy, New Zealand-based Asian tale of ghosts, traditional.
Ghost Bride is about Jason Chen (Yoson An), whose mother wants him to have a traditional Chinese arranged marriage, to honor his dead father's wishes, but Jason has other ideas. Jason is in love with Skye (Rebekah Palmer), his Kiwi girlfriend, and wants nothing to do with getting married to anyone else. Jason's mother takes him to see Madam Yin (Geeling Ng), a Chinese matchmaker, who claims to have found Jason a suitable bride, by the name of May-Ling (Fiona Feng), but this is a bride with a big difference. After Jason proposes to Skye, going against his mother, the couple start seeing a ghost, which forces Jason to take drastic action in a bid to end the haunting.
Considering this is Yoson An, Fiona Feng and Rebekah Palmer's first film, they actually performed quite well, and certainly appear to have what it takes, if they're prepared to put in the effort. Rebekah Palmer has done a couple of short films before Ghost Bride, and the attractive young actress deserves to be noticed, as she handles herself confidently. Yoson An was a little shaky in parts, but that can be put down to first-time jitters. A lot of his scenes involved quite a bit of emotion, which the actor managed admirably. Fiona Feng's role was almost dialogue-free but the lovely Asian actress also handled her scenes well, for the little she had to work with.
Director David Blyth was obviously going for your typical Asian creep-fest, with hints of Fruit Chan's famous horror, Dumplings, but Ghost Bride lacked cohesion and failed to draw the audience into its fantasy world, leaving us feeling uninvolved and devoid of any emotion. Ghost Bride is by no means a failure, but it will have limited appeal to anyone but the die-hard Asian cinema fan. It's also a decent example of what can be achieved on a shoestring budget with limited resources, a very short shoot and unknown but determined first-time actors.
Review by Nav QateelShare: