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A Tale of Two Sisters

4.4 out of 5 stars 182 customer reviews

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(Mar 11, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

TALE OF TWO SISTERS

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Korean
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Tartan Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2011
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000GSYRY6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 20, 2005
Format: DVD
"A Tale of Two Sisters" is a rarity among horror films that combines genuine human drama with spookiness. And it goes one better in presenting the audience with a multi-layered mystery that reveals itself gradually. Teenaged Su-mi (Im Su-jeong) and her younger sister Su-yeon (Moon Geun-yeong) return home to their father and stepmother after a stay at a mental hospital. Su-mi is outspoken, resentful of her stepmother, and always protective of the more reserved Su-yeon. Shortly after the girls arrive, strange things begin to happen around the house. Su-mi is plagued by horrific nightmares that may or may not be real. Objects seem to replicate themselves. Images of people appear and disappear. Their stepmother (Yeom Jeong-ah) blames the girls and then the house. Su-mi blames her stepmother. Their father (Kim Kab-su) blames everyone's inability to adjust to their new circumstances. Events from the past which are alluded to but never explained may hold the answer. Or is an otherworldly presence at work?

It's not surprising that "A Tale of Two Sisters" owes much of its success to its credibility. The relationships of these people - the resentful and protective older sister, the concerned but frustrated father, the cold and jealous stepmother- are in the forefront of the narrative, not secondary to the horror. Deep-seated emotions drive the characters, not fear. Unlike most horror or mystery films, we understand less of what's going on than the characters do. Writer/director Kim Ji-woon keeps the audience in the dark until nearly the end of the film. Since these are credible characters, we want to understand what's happening to them, and that sustains our interest. Layers of the mystery are peeled away gradually, revealing a genuine human tragedy with horrific implications.
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Format: DVD
Two sisters Su-Mi and Su-Yeon return to their home after a period of convalescence after the death of their mother. Their father awaits them with his new bride - Eun-joo, once a nurse on the father's staff. Su-Mi is intensely angry with both her father and her new stepmother, and from this broken relationship, the film moves forward. But this quickly turns into far more than a wicked stepmother film.

Bit by bit director Ji-woon Kim makes it apparent that there is something deeply wrong. Bad dreams turn into bad reality and back again as viewers learn not to trust the evidence of their eyes. Kim uses a lot of sudden inserts that will have you hitting the pause and step buttons repeatedly, but to no avail. It is a wicked woman, an insane girl, or a haunted house that lies at the dark center of this bleak tale?

This is not so much a horror story as dark tale of characters in search of a resolution - one that uses horror as its metaphor. Gestures and glances leave no doubt in anyone's mind that behind the characters words lies a secret that divides them onto separate parts. Only the two young girls seem to find solace together, but their quiet moments are continually disturbed by their step-mother, who seems mad as a hatter. But, as you can probably tell now from this review, almost nothing is as it seems.

The direction really is brilliant. Careful use of color and shadow make their rural home into a haunted gothic mansion. Memories, not ghosts though, are the lurkers in the shadow, and it is up to the viewer to try to find the real thread in a truly layered plot. Images, especially the use of hair and facial profiles contribute to the double meanings. The acting is also excellent, a far cry from the what we're used to in oriental horror. Having watched Ringu recently I can honestly say that this is the better film.

Have somebody with you when you watch this film. You will want the company before this is over.
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Format: DVD
First impressions should not always be taken as par for the course. That’s the lesson I’ve learned after my second viewing of this Korean film. While impressed at the technical wizardry of director Ji-woon Kim, his film still left me with a sour taste in my mouth after the initial viewing. “A tale of two sisters” is one of those films that has a major twist in the plot that makes you rethink the entire events you’ve previously seen. If done right this technique can be a clever move, however it seems to have been done to death in the thrillers of the past 5 years or so. As soon as the credits rolled a strange combination of feeling dumb and disappointed hit me and I felt like I’d missed the whole point of the movie. But although dismayed once the credit rolled I still could not get this film out of my head. The very next day I decided to give it another viewing and I’m glad I did. All of a sudden, key pieces of dialogue revealed themselves to be much more important than previously thought and actions that were once confusing suddenly made a lot more sense. This is a film that commands a second viewing to be fully appreciated. Trust me on this one.

Sisters Su-mi (the older and strong-willed sister) and Su-yeon (the younger and more timid one) return to their father’s home, a large rural and gothic house, after being away at the hospital due to extended and unspecified illnesses. Almost immediately after arriving, their shallow, condescending stepmother is on their case accusing and criticizing them for an assortment of things like not cleaning their rooms, being messy, supposedly being rude, etc.
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