Summary: Ning is a tax collector who finds his arrival in a small town isn't so welcome. To really mess him over the townsfolk recommend a haunted temple for him to stay at overnight, and as you can guess he has no idea it is haunted. Upon arriving there though he meets Lip, a ghost, who is being forced to marry the ruler of the underworld. Ning's growing feelings for her send him on a brave mission to rescue her from her fate.
Acting: The acting is a range of good and bad. Also, I guess it's good to remind the viewer that this is a bit of comedy mixed in with romance and horror, so the story is trying to reflect some comedic emotions. Joey Wang is Lip, the ghost. I feel she does come off a little awkward sometimes in her role, but she does have the needed chemistry to do the romance with Ning. She also handles not looking to odd in the parts where she is being swung around as if she is flying. Then there is the famous Leslie Cheung, who committed suicide a little over a decade after this movie was made. Cheung is the most talent of the cast. He has the comedic bit down good and he also shows good emotions to convey the romance he has for Lip.
Filming: There is good and bad when it comes from the directing from Siu-Tung Ching. There are moments where the direction is so creative and artsy because the panning is truly unique. I've never seen anything like it. The camera is constantly moving capturing the action well. Then you have these moments where one character breaks down singing, we have awkward close up shots, and the whole moment just feels awkward. There is also a really bad score and sound effects. They sound like Mario sound effects. One other positive though was the atmosphere of this movie. I liked the wood scenes at night. I thought it was great fun with how they went all out to capture the style of the horror they wanted. The weird skeleton things living at the temple look truly scary. I liked how that whole atmosphere of the movie.
Plot: The plot is intriguing and it's deeply rooted in some of the culture of China, which is cool. They do the elements of romance nicely, and while the movie struggles with some cheesiness, their growing chemistry does feel very real. The movie also does the horror elements the best. Somehow the plot builds up the impending doom to be quite terrifying. If you like Chinese horror, fantasy, romance, or action then this does blend the elements well into the plot.
A Chinese Ghost Story is good, but their are some weak parts that make it a struggle to really give it a high rating. I think fans of this genre will love it, as it is probably one of the best their is. The director works with the limitations of the 80's special effects well, but then the odd sound effects take away from what he has visually created.
Rating 6 of 10.