Posts Tagged ‘Kim Jee-Won’

Movie Reviews 369 – A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

November 16, 2018

A Tale of Two Sisters is a Korean horror that takes the concept of flipping a story on it’s head to extremes. Much like Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense where a pivotal point of the story has the viewer reexamining everything that they had seen prior to that event because the point of reference changed the entire story, this film does it not once, but twice.

It begins two sisters, Soo-mi (Lim Soo-Jung) and Soo-yeon (Moon Geun-young), arriving at home from some unexplained long term visit elsewhere. Soo-mi is the defiant, feisty one who clearly hates her stepmother (Yum Jung-ah) while being protective of her younger, quiet and simple headed sister. The stepmother lashes at Soo-mi almost as soon the girls arrive, trying to assert herself as the matriarch ruler of the house but Soo-mi will have none of it and stands her own ground defiantly. Standing between them is the father (Kim Kap-su) who has lost control over the household to the bickering women.

But the battles are interspersed with odd events indicating that something is not right. There are hints of abuse of Soo-yeon and the stepmother rants crazed stories at a family gathering where everyone else are clearly not at ease. But who is crazy, Soo-mi or the stepmother and more importantly why? Even after the first big reveal there are many unanswered questions that remain including the full extent of the horror that put the family in this dysfunctional state.

The movie does use some of the tropes of K-Horror (and J-Horror for that matter) that we’ve become familiar with over the last decade or so (the long hair hiding the girl’s faces, stark flashbacks, etc) but this is mostly new ground filmmaking with a powerful supporting story. Low on gore relying on the psychological, the finale is brilliant and puts everything into perspective.

This is the first feature by director Kim Jee-Won that I’ve seen only having been exposed to his segment in Three Extremes II before, but if this film is any indication of his talents I will certainly be on the lookout for more. I have the Tartan Asia Extreme 2 disc DVD box set which is filled with extra interviews by the entire cast, but as much I as hoped the film plot would be elaborated on, none of the extra features are all that interesting and they can be skipped. But do watch this movie.