The lunar seventh month has descended upon us mortals and the Chinese refer to this as the ghost month, where the gates of hell are thrown open to allow the souls of the deceased to roam the land of the living. It’s also the time when people love to recount eerie experiences, hence this movie, which feels just like your friend telling you a ghost story.
The tale revolves around the spooky experiences of three good friends – Lam Chung Fat (Jeff Chin), Malcolm (Bernard Hiew) and Ng Heng Yan (Juztin Lan). The bumbling trio get hit with a spate of bad luck, when they each get home after bumping into the ghost of a child in a parking lot.
The first story is the creepiest and begins when Lam runs into financial problems and his loan application is rejected. He goes to a bomoh (Joe Chang), who gives him a toyol (child spirit), which gets him whatever he asks for. Unfortunately, his pregnant wife Yan (Emely Poon) and little son (Houson Ng) stumble upon his dark secret, and chaos ensues.
The second deals with more black magic as Malcolm’s workaholic wife Yuk (Lyn) comes home late every night and he suspects her of having an affair with her boss. So he goes to another bomoh who employs “love magic” and gives him corpse oil to win back her love. However, a ghost issues them a warning.
The final piece is packed with ghosts, and Ng is the only one among the three who can see ghosts. After his father (Yap Chin Fong) passes away, the young man goes around questioning all the ghosts he sees in hopes of finding his father. His friends try their best to offer support.
There’s a positive message behind each of the scary stories, and the characters are unbelievably forgiving, even the initially vengeful spectres. The movie is peppered with jump scares, but the outcome is largely unexpected. I dare say even the squeamish can have fun watching Chinese Ghost Story.
Best known for his Ah Beng comedies, director Silver Yee, who just nabbed Best Local Film for Huat The Fish at the recent Golden Butterfly Awards, can now add horror-comedy to his portfolio. Check out his daring parodies, especially the one of a local bomoh looking for a lost plane.
Chinese Ghost Story is frontlined by a bunch of well-known local entertainers who made their name in Lunar New Year flicks, so you know you can count on the laughs.
A big group of Malay girls sat beside me during the screening and although the local horror-comedy was entirely in Cantonese, they were laughing throughout. And they had so much fun that they giggled right till the end of the show.
Well, what can I say, it’s the kind of movie that you would best enjoy in a local cinema late at night with a bunch of your craziest friends.
Chinese Ghost Story
Director: Silver Yee
Cast: Jeff Chin, Bernard Hiew, Juztin Lan, Joe Chang, Emely Poon