A Tale of Two Sisters
A Tale of Two Sisters (Korean: 장화, 홍련; RR: Janghwa, Hongryeon; lit. "Rose Flower, Red Lotus") is a 2003 South Korean psychological horror drama film written and directed by Kim Jee-woon.
After being institutionalized in a mental hospital, Korean teen Su-mi (Yeom Jeong-ah) reunites with her beloved sister, Su-yeon (Su-jeong Lim), and they return to live at their country home. The girls' widower father (Mun Geun-yeong) has remarried, and the siblings are immediately resentful of his new wife, Eun-joo (Kap-su Kim). As Su-mi and Su-yeon try to resume their regular lives, strange events plague the house, leading to surprising revelations and a shocking conclusion.
Why It Rocks
- One of the most iconic South Korean horror films to have ever been made.
- Although it's supposed to be horror, it's drama elements cause it to be extremely sad at the same time, just to make it even more terrifying.
- The two leads, Im Soo-jung and Moon Geun-young's performances are incredible and are totally convincing for their roles.
- Also, Yum Jung-ah is deceitfully cheerful and hauntingly evil as the stepmother. Finally, Kim Kap-soo gives an excellent performance as the weary, broken father.
- While the film's plot is difficult to understand at first, it does a perfect job of explaining things near the end. Going even further on this would be heading to spoiler territory.
- It's surprise twists manage to catch the viewer off-guard, using small reveals before its big twist near the end.
- While it does rely on a few jump scares, these scares only bring up the tension instead of ruining it altogether.
- Beautiful cinematography. Some shots are pure cinematic poetry, such as the top-shot with the two sisters sitting near the lake.
- Mesmerizing musical score that is usually fitting for every scenario going on. Although it's not supposed to be scary, it kind of has a classical feel to it.
- The plot can get confusing at times, especially when the twist ending happens.
Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports an approval rating of 85% based on 60 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critics' consensus reads: "Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie." Meanwhile, Metacritic scored the film 65 out of 100, meaning "generally favorable reviews" from 19 critics.
- The film is loosely based on a Joseon Dynasty era folktale entitled Janghwa Hongryeon jeon.