A Tale of Two Sisters follows the return to society of sisters Su-mi and Su-yeon after a spell in a mental institution. Arriving home in the countryside the sisters are devoid of any warmth toward their father, and are slightly less than outright hostile to their stepmother. One night Su-mi has a terrifying dream, while something enters Su-yeon’s room and pulls off her bed cover. Both girls and their step-mother are affected by the house’s atmosphere, with only the father seemingly unaffected. What is causing the strange occurrences and visions? Is the house haunted? Why do the girls hate their step-mother so much?
Unfortunately, I can’t possibly go into any more plot details as it would spoil the film badly. Again, I put the spotlight on a Korean film, but I must admit I am not a big fan of horror movies to begin with because asian horror cinema has succumbed to plenty of cliche’s over the years. K-Horror, of course, is the not so imaginative equivalent of J-Horror. For fans of the Japanese horror scene, certain elements of the film may feel familiar, especially with the infrequent appearance of an Onryo – in Japan, the manifestation of a vengeful spirit, usually female, that was, of course, so iconically captured in The Ring, Dark Water, The Grudge, and others.
Suffice to say, there’s a twist in the tail. In fact, there are several, which is why I would suggest reserving any real judgement or momentary criticisms of proceedings until the very end. Instead of giving away important plot details, I will say instead that this movie has solid acting all the way around. Having said all of that, there are a few minor criticisms that could be made. Firstly, the film is slow. I have no problem whatsoever with slow films, and didn’t object in the least, but I can imagine that some people would find it takes too long to build up steam.
As I stated before, I am not a fan of horror movies. Not because I hate being scared, but because there are very few movies that can actually put me on the edge of my seat. I don’t want this to come across as a negative review (this blog only focuses on movies I enjoy) as this is a very well crafted, cleverly constructed and entertainingly spooky film. If, like me, you found JU-ON a real disappointment after all the fanfare surrounding it, I think it’s safe to say that not only will you not feel let down by A Tale of Two Sisters, you might just love it. Slight Recommendation.