Marry My Dead Body (2023) is a Taiwanese Comedy Drama film directed by Cheng Wei-Hao, famous for his horror-thriller franchise The Tag Along. The movie had a celebrated festival run, winning Best Screenplay at the Taipei Film Festival and the audience award at NYAFF. The movie revolves around Min-Han, a straight and homophobic police officer who finds a red wedding envelope while investigating evidence in a drug case, only to realize that it will bind him to marry the ghost of Mao, a young gay man who was killed in a car accident. It is a silly high-concept movie with supernatural dramedy at heart. Marry My Dead Body has plenty to offer as an entertaining and effective comedy movie.

Marry My Dead Body (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

“You want to talk about discrimination with a gay guy?” At a basic elevator pitch level, Marry My Dead Body is a highly campy, melodramatic East Asian movie with a bizarre conceit that is somehow full of many silly laughs and a few tears with some astute observations on parental relationships and friendships while at the same time being a cautionary tale of same-sex relationships in the modern era.

A woman trims a lock of hair and a fingernail from a corpse and puts it in an envelope. Cut to Ming Han, who is an ambitious police detective. He works with his partner Tsu Ching at the precinct, specializing in criminal cases. Recently, their squad has been investigating leads on Hsiao Yuan, a notorious drug dealer. Hsiao Yuan is a dangerous crime syndicate with many underlings. He has evaded law enforcement thus far. However, the police are closing in on their target and want to arrest Hsiao Yuan during his next drug deal.

Recently, Ming Han faced scrutiny while working on another case. He went undercover to arrest a drug user, almost pretending to seduce him. However, Ming Han uses excessive violence and homophobic language while apprehending the perpetrator. Ming Han has received complaints for his misconduct. His boss, Hsiao Yuan, demotes him after the incident. Ming Han is annoyed by the relocation to a smaller police station. He wants to return to his old career and work on more exciting cases.

One day, Ming Han and his partner pursue a criminal in a chaotic chase. They leave behind a sloppy mess at the park. While Ming Han is cleaning, he picks up an innocuous red envelope from the ground. Suddenly, a senior woman approaches him, claiming he is now betrothed to her deceased grandson.

According to folklore, anyone who takes the red packet has unknowingly agreed to a “ghost marriage.” Ming Han is declared the groom to Mao, a gay man who recently died in an accident. Mao’s grandmother wants to proceed with a wedding ceremony. One of her biggest regrets is that she couldn’t help Mao get married before his sudden death. However, Ming Han dismisses her and doesn’t take this superstition seriously. She curses him, claiming that he will experience misfortune.

After rejecting the ghost marriage, Ming Han constantly encounters unlucky scenarios, including many freak accidents and physical injuries. Feeling disturbed, Ming Han reluctantly agrees to marry Mao’s grandson as long as that reverses the bad omen. Mao’s father disrupts the matrimonial ceremony, claiming this ghost marriage tradition is nonsense.

Marry My Dead Body (2023) Movie Ending Explained
A still from Marry My Dead Body (2023)

Nonetheless, Ming Han follows the grandmother’s instructions, which involve “sleeping” with her grandson on their wedding night. Ming-han goes through with the ceremony and soon finds himself capable of seeing his groom, Ming-han has to fulfill Mao’s wishes so he can be reincarnated, which means the cop has to do cop work to determine who killed Mao in a brutal hit-and-run.

This involves infiltrating a drug ring alongside Tzu-ching while navigating the various loose ends of Mao’s life, including his strained relationship with his father and confronting the man Mao was supposed to marry while he was still alive. Ming Han is stunned when he can see Mao, a ghostly apparition who manifests himself in physical form. Ming Han reacts awfully and offends Mao with homophobic insults. The angry ghost pesters him in retaliation. Ming Han finally agrees to help Mao fulfill his last wishes so he can peacefully move on to the afterlife.

Marry My Dead Body (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Who killed Mao Mao?

Hsiao Yuan killed Mao Mao in a midnight hit-and-run. A drug lord crashes his car into a drunk pedestrian after making a deal in the middle of the night. Poor Mao doesn’t look either way as he crosses the street. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hsiao Yuan never reported the incident to the police and fled the scene by car. He wasn’t worried about the arrest because Tsu Ching had helped him cover up the evidence during the investigation.

While Hsiao Yuan may have killed Mao Mao, others also played an indirect role. Before the accident, Mao had an argument with his father. The father was hostile to his son’s marriage plans and threatened to disapprove. The struggle between his parents made Mao very ill, and he drowned his sadness with alcohol.

That may have weakened his judgment and put him in danger. Mao’s father later regretted trading insults with his son. He aims to catch the criminal, hoping that the investigation will lead to his guilt. However, nothing could cure his heartache. Chia Hao is also guilty. The ex cheated to break up with Mao Mao, ghosted him, and ignored his calls. When it happened, Mao Mao met with him.

The victim is very worried and will let his guard down. The movie doesn’t detail  Chia Hao’s behavior enough to show whether he feels guilty. Most of the people in his place pondered their guilt and wondered if they could treat Mao better.

Why is Wu Ming-Han homophobic & did he change?

Through comedy, this film tries to showcase and break down the prejudices towards Taiwan’s LGBTQ communities despite the country’s legalization of same-sex marriage in 2019. There is a lot of homophobic language and dramatic anger outbursts, but no real explanation for why Wu Ming-Han is so prejudiced against gay people. Mao is made weak by possessing people, and Wu Ming-Han is shot down, though he survives. We learn the truth behind why Mao’s father didn’t want him to marry his ex. While Mao thought this because of his homophobia, his father was trying to save him. In fact, by telling this story, Mao’s spirit begins to fade away as if this was his unfinished business, and now his soul can be free.

The film goes through many attempts to help Mao fulfill his wishes so he can be reincarnated. At the beginning of the movie, Wu Ming-han’s career advancement is threatened by his unrequited desire. After some persuasion, he refuses to participate in the ghost marriage. As the movie continues, you will see that he gradually loses his hatred and becomes friends with Mao.

The letter makes him an accepted and loved one on this journey, and you finally realize that he has changed. Wu Ming-han and Mr. Mao embraced. Mao Mao was swallowed by thousands of tiny lights and disappeared. In the last shot, Wu Ming-han is seen talking on the phone in his room with his wife, slowly making his way to the small temple for Mao. Not a perfect ending but still more sweet than bitter.

Read More: Culture of the Mad, Sad, and Crass: The Asian Filmmakers Who Owned It

Trailer:

Marry My Dead Body (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia
The Cast of Marry My Dead Body (2023) Movie: Greg Hsu, Austin Lin, Gingle Wang
Marry My Dead Body (2023) Movie Genre: Comedy/Drama, Runtime: 2h 10m
Where to watch Marry My Dead Body

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