A Tale Of Two Sisters (2003) (Janghwa, Hongryeon)
Directed by Kim Jee-woon
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.
Happy October! Time to kick off a month of horror reviews… 🙂
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?
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.
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. 😉
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