A Tale of Two Sisters

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A Tale of Two Sisters
A Tale of Two Sisters poster.jpg
Genre: Horror
Drama
Starring: Im Soo-jung
Moon Geun-young
Yum Jung-ah
Kim Kap-soo
Release Date: June 13, 2003
Country: South Korea


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.

Plot

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

  1. One of the most iconic South Korean horror films to have ever been made.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. It's surprise twists manage to catch the viewer off-guard, using small reveals before its big twist near the end.
  6. While it does rely on a few jump scares, these scares only bring up the tension instead of ruining it altogether.
  7. Beautiful cinematography. Some shots are pure cinematic poetry, such as the top-shot with the two sisters sitting near the lake.
  8. 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.

Bad Qualities

  1. The plot can get confusing at times, especially when the twist ending happens.

Reception

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.

Trivia

  • The film is loosely based on a Joseon Dynasty era folktale entitled Janghwa Hongryeon jeon.

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