A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) Review

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A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) (Janghwa, Hongryeon)

Directed by Kim Jee-woon

Starring:
Im Soo-jung
Moon Geun-young
Yeom Jeong-ah
Kim Kap-soo

Running time: 115 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
A Tale of Two Sisters is a 2003 South Korean psychological horror film. The film is inspired by a Joseon Dynasty folktale entitled “Janghwa Hongryeon jeon”, which has been adapted to film several times. The plot focuses on two sisters who, after returning home from a psychiatric hospital, experience increasingly disturbing events involving both them and their stepmother.

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My Opinion:

Happy October! Time to kick off a month of horror reviews… πŸ™‚

I’d been wanting to see this movie ever since I first saw that great bloody poster up there and read what the movie was about. Then, several years later, I ended up watching The Uninvited without realizing that it was the American remake of this film. And you know what? I quite liked that movie! Yep. I can be a bit of a snob about remakes sometimes but, screw it – I’m a “PG-13 horror” kind of girl and The Uninvited is right up my alley. I make no apologies! However, I was a bit annoyed when I realized that I’d watched the remake before seeing the original. So, what did I think of the original after finally seeing it the other day?

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I’m not going to spend the whole time comparing the two movies – they’re very different. The American one is, of course, much more literal & neatly ties things up for us at the end. The main basic story is there but was changed quite a lot. I like them both in different ways although A Tale Of Two Sisters is, of course, the superior film. What I really liked about this movie was the relationship between the sisters – they were very close & totally believable as sisters as well as best friends. I liked how protective the older girl was of her younger sister and it made me want a sibling. Both girls were very good in this & helped make the film more enjoyable for me. You really want things to work out for them.

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The story itself is a good one – it’s one that will keep you guessing as to what’s really going on (as long as you’ve not seen the remake beforehand. Grr!). However, there were still surprises in store for me as the story wasn’t exactly the same. The step-mother was good as the “evil” (and possibly insane?) woman who stole the girls’ father from their mother. I’m not sure if, at the end, things really added up? I’d perhaps watch this again with the knowledge of the ending to see if the pieces fully fall into place. Like I say, the American one didn’t really leave any loose ends but, hey – you know us Americans: We need it all spelled out for us. πŸ˜‰

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As for the “scare factor”? I’ll admit that this one did give me the heebie jeebies and I jumped a good couple of times. I’m a naturally jumpy person so making me jump doesn’t mean much – what I look for in a horror movie instead of just your usual “jump scares” is one that I’m still thinking about when I go to bed at night and that makes me think twice about turning off the lights. This one is one of those types of movies and… Well, I never sleep in pitch black darkness anyway as I don’t like the dark but I’ll admit I kept an extra light on after watching this one. Like an idiot, I watched it alone late at night and it DID manage to creep me out a little (not many movies do). THAT’S my favorite type of horror – the “psychological” horror or a really good ghost story. Slashers don’t scare me but give me something supernatural and I’m freaked out. A Tale Of Two Sisters is a very good example of these types of horror films and I definitely recommend it to fans of this sort of genre. It’s not the best or scariest horror film ever but those who know me will know I’m very picky when it comes to horror movies and find the vast majority of them to be extremely disappointing. Overall, I was pretty impressed with A Tale Of Two Sisters.

My Rating: 7/10

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33 thoughts on “A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) Review

    • Yeah – this is definitely my type of “horror”. πŸ™‚ The sequel is SO different I kind of just see them as entirely different movies. It’s very “American”. I liked it but some won’t have. Would be interesting to know what you think of it if you see it. πŸ™‚

  1. Nice review! I really liked this film, thought it was pretty scary too. I didn’t enjoy The Uninvited that much but not because it’s a remake (I have no problem with remakes) it just wasn’t that thrilling.

    Have you seen the Korean movie ‘Hansel and Gretel’? Here’s the IMDB if you haven’t – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1002567/

    It’s a really good, dark, strange horror movie. But what made me think of it is the friendship between the siblings in it, much like what you remarked on in your review for Tale of Two Sisters. It’s scary and a weird film, but it’s also actually quite sad as well. Really worth watching!! I instantaneously enjoyed it πŸ™‚

    P.S I’m exactly the same about sleeping in the dark and scary movies often play on my mind after dark! When I watched The Ring I was about 19 I guess. I slept with the light on for about 3 weeks! That freaked me the eff out I tell you.

    • Hmm – I’d not heard of that one. Like the sound of it! πŸ™‚ lol – Ring WAS freaky!!! I don’t know why I watch these things – I’m an incredible wuss sometimes. Not sure if I can handle The Babadook or not! πŸ˜‰

      • I KNOW I can’t handle it, but I’m so stupid I’ll go and watch it πŸ™‚

        Ring really scared me, it was before I’d seen any of those type of movies, the long black hair etc and it really, really scared me at the time!!

        πŸ™‚

  2. Bollocks,

    Nice review – I’ve seen the other one so I doubt I need to see this thing – I’ll live it through you πŸ™‚

    But this confuses me: “hey – you know us Americans: We need it all spelled out for us”. I thought you turned into a crumpet eating, tea drinking Redcoat????

    Signed,

    Confused in America

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ PG-13 is an odd rating – I think they’re occasionally 15 here. I saw this great YouTube video about the PG-13 rating, actually, and how drastically it’s changed over the years – I’ll probably link to it on my next PG-13 horror review next week. I’m a proper wuss! I just really can’t take certain forms of excessive violence. I’ll happily watch an R (18) rated film but things like the Saw series (the sequels – the first wasn’t as bad) took things too far. I can’t stand that sort of thing. (But zombie movies… I can handle those!) πŸ™‚

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  4. I had no idea The Uninvited was a remake!! I didn’t love that, but I’d definitely be interested in giving this one a shot. Sounds pretty good! Well done, lady! πŸ™‚

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  6. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    Today I’ll be reblogging a couple of reviews I did for two good South Korean horror films. I realized I’ve not watched any foreign language horrors this year but I’ve found that many of them have been much better than a lot of English language horrors in recent years. I really like the sound of a South Korean zombie film called Train To Busan, which is currently showing in parts of England (but not near me, unfortunately). Has anyone seen this?

    Here’s my review of South Korean psychological horror film A Tale Of Two Sisters (Remade in America as The Uninvited. Watch this one first)…

  7. Reblogged this on Cinema Parrot Disco and commented:

    Today I’ll be reblogging a couple of reviews I did for two good South Korean horror films. I realized I’ve not watched any foreign language horrors this year but I’ve found that many of them have been much better than a lot of English language horrors in recent years. I really like the sound of a South Korean zombie film called Train To Busan, which is currently showing in parts of England (but not near me, unfortunately). Has anyone seen this?

    Here’s my review of South Korean psychological horror film A Tale Of Two Sisters (Remade in America as The Uninvited. Watch this one first)…

  8. This is one of my favorite Korean Horror films. I’ve seen it several times. At least two, very possibly three, but I don’t think four. I have to admit that there is something about the end that has never made sense to me. I thought I had seen The Uninvited, but perhaps not. Because I never saw the connection to this film. So I may be thinking of a different film. I think I will have to watch that one as well.

    • Cool – I’m happy to hear from fans of this. Makes me want to watch more South Korean horror as the few I’ve seen have been good. Yeah – I can’t say I fully followed the story in this, though! The Uninvited was more simple, of course… “Dumbed down”, I guess. But viewed separately & not seen as a remake, I thought it was fun. Just not “good” like the original.

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