Ning Tsai-Shen, a young and naive tax collector, arrives in a small town to collect taxes. His tax log book gets wet and the numbers become illegible to read and storeowners refuse to pay. No one is willing to give him shelter for the night, so he ends up going to the haunted Lan Ro temple at night. There, he meets Taoist Swordsman Yen Che-Hsia, who warns him to stay out of trouble, and a beautiful girl, Nieh Hsiao-Tsing, with whom he falls in love. Unfortunately, unknown to the tax collector, the girl is a ghost, enslaved to a hideous tree spirit (witch) with a gigantic tongue that wraps itself around its victims and sucks out their life essence. The witch has promised the girl to become the wife of a male spirit. The tax collector, swordsman, and the ghost girl, together must fight for their lives and souls.
The story is rich with story and depth, yet very engrossing, colorful, and fast-paced. It's filled with allegory. It also has mild humor and tons of fighting and special effects. Fun for everyone!
It varies from a Chinese market, ancient temple, haunted hotel, to the dark, foggy forest plagued with evil wolves. It's full of great atmospheric sets and outdoor scenes that truly represent medieval China. It's very pleasing on the eyes.
The main characters stand out among an otherwise mediocre cast. They're very likeable characters.
Leslie Cheung plays the young and naive tax collector. He's rather physically weak but has a courageous heart deep within. He's sweet and friendly. His character grows on you as the underdog you can't help but cheer on.
Joey Wong plays the ghost girl. She's breathtakingly beautiful, as well as a great actress. Pleasant to look at, yet adept enough at acting to win our hearts and feel her pain.
Ma Wu plays the courageous Taoist swordsman. He's the oldest of the actors, made to appear even older with make-up. He plays the great fighter, who has left society to battle ghosts. He is, as he puts it, a ghost among men and a man among ghosts. He no longer fits into society so he protects the temple and countryside from ghosts. He shows a kind yet tough-love to the tax collector. He acts tough but has a kind heart which causes us to cheer him on. Very well done!
Very well done. Some special shots but none overshadow the story. Very colorful at times which is very artsy.
There's several effects, nothing to today's standards but very well done. There stop-motion skeletons that standout as one of the highlight. Lots of flashing lights and explosions. Tons of high-flying martial arts but again, this is not a purely action film, just one of many aspects of this film.
The sound and especially the music are excellent. Great Asian music and beautiful singing. The lyrics are filled with deep meaning.
This film does not have an English track, just subtitles. The subs are fine here in both visibility and speed.
Great movie but if you're not used to Asian-style films with all of its quirks and often time weird humor, it might be difficult to get into. This film is a lot more subtle than most Asian films though. The story's great, likeable characters, excellent music, and great atmosphere! Highly recommended!
Horror fans will like this. It has some disturbing images and some gore, nothing bad.
The path of life are dreams, like the length of the path. The storm on the way pass by as you go along. In the world how many ways can one dream? Looking for dream-like love. And the path goes on. Life is what dreams and desires are made of. Somewhere in the dream there are traces of tears. Where to go to? To find where my heart wants to go. The wind seems to sign in the dream, and the path and I go on.