a tale of two sisters (2003)

by zEke

a tale of two sisters posterA few months before the release of yet another Hollywood remake (a tale of two sisters (2008)) I finally had the chance to watch South Korean filmmaker Kim Ji-woon’s a tale of two sisters. If I was asked by someone to deliver just a headline, I would simply write that South Korean horror follows the steps of Japanese horror, or Hideo Nakata’s, which is saying pretty much the same. And that should be enough for those familiar with the way Asian filmmakers treat the genre. Fortunately, or unfortunately (who knows?), I can, and will, write a little longer about it.

The movie is based on an old folktale by a Joseon Dynasty. This folktale is about two sisters who died because of their stepmother and one of their stepbrothers acts. As ghosts they tormented every single new mayor in town until justice was made and their stepmother and stepbrother were sentenced to death. Being this true, I could also say that this folktale is about the supposed evil that lives within non conventional nuclear families according to South Korean tradition. Stepfamily? No, thank you.

Nevertheless, the story gets from the folktale the two sisters, the cruel stepmother and not much more. Sisters Soo-mi (Lim Su-jeong) and Soo-yeon (Mun Geun-yeong) arrive to their old family house in the country where they live with their father Moo-hyeon (Kim Kap-su) and insufferable stepmother Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah). As if coexisting with her stepmother obsessive behavior was not enough they have also to deal with ghosts from their past that have not left their house yet.

I would like to say that this is not just another horror movie with a surprising (let me doubt that after most of the possibilities have been already used after the success of the sixth sense (1999)) final twist, but I cannot. This is just another one. What does make this one different? You might need more than what you are ready to spend to understand the hieroglyphic synopsis, which does not lack neither flashbacks, nor dreams. It is like mixing all the options they had. Is that wrong? It could have been worse if the direction was not talented. Truth is, Kim Ji-woon is able to build strain out of nothing without resorting to the usual ways. That, and the impressive performances by, mainly, Lim Su-jeong and Yum Jung-ah.

Lim Su-jeong, who I have recently also seen in sad movie (2005), and i’m a cyborg but that’s ok (2006), profs herself once again as a truly versatile actress, and convincing, indeed. Might be as well because her acting is closer to occidental approaches than to the typical Asian overacting (overacting for us).

All in all, a movie that will get in your nerves, and not only because of a tale made to scare, but because of the purposely chaotic way it is told.

For the deadhours of those who have the time and the motivation to watching it twice.

deadrate: δair

official site | imdb

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5 Comments

  1. great movie

  2. Promete pero no cumple.

  3. I’m very like with the story!!!!
    That’s make me feel very sad…and until I crying!!!!
    I like the story!!!
    But I rather not understand about the story…
    Please, explain to me..
    About the story…
    Su-yeon is dead…
    But, I see,Su-yeon is still live….
    I become understand….
    Please..explain to me….!!!

  4. QUIERO VER ESTA PELÍCULA !!¡¡*
    LA VÍ EN VERSION ESTADOUNIDENSE CREO QUE ES..

    LA MALDICIÓN DE LAS HERMANAS ..al español
    PERO YO SE QUE LES COPIAN LAS PELÍCULAS ORIENTALES Y LAS RETOMAN PARA HACERLAS MUY FEAS Y CHAF ..PERO LES SALÍO BIEN LA VERSIÓN DE ESTA PELÍCULA EN ESTADOUNIDENSE.
    bye!
    *=) sALUDOS DESDE SIN.MÉXICO
    .

    • Pues la versión estadounidense está hecha para ser más espectacular, pero a mi gusto, mucho más aburrida. En la coreana todo es confuso desde el inicio, uno tiene que estar todo el tiempo tratando de entender qué es lo que pasa…
      Te recomiendo mucho que la veas, es realmente muy interesante, y a mí me asustó un montón.


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