A Tale of Two Sisters | Review

Halloween has already started for some, but it will officially be here in two more days. So why not scare yourself silly by having an Asian horror-flick night? Asian directors can make your cry, laugh, but they can also scare you enough to never go into a closet and close the door behind you ever again.

Released in: 2003
Directed by: Kim Ji-woon

Actor/Actress as Characters
Im Soo Jung as Su-mi
Moon Geun Young as Su-yeon
Yeom Jeong-ah as Eun-joo
Kim Kap-su as Moo-hyeon

Do you have someone that you’re really close to? You want to protect this person with all your being and when you fail to, the hurt lingers and damages you. Su-mi and Su-yeon are sisters and are very close. They live with their father, Mu-hyeon, and their step-mother, Eun-joo. The movie starts with Su-mi in a presumably psychiatry ward. She is unresponsive to all questions asked by the doctor and only picks up her head when a family photo is shown. When she gets better, Su-mi goes back home with Su-yeon hand in hand as they enter the house. Their abode is old, large, and dark: a perfect place of residence for evil and the supernatural. On the first night, Su-yeon senses someone enter her room and runs to her sister’s room for protection. From there, this mysterious presence continues to make itself known and only shows itself to Su-mi.  To make matters worst, their step-mother takes all her anger out on Su-yeon by locking her in the closet and their father doesn’t believe a word Su-mi says. When Su-yeon has bruises all over her arms, Su-mi finally confronts her father only to receive a most terrible answer. 

Overall, the movie wasn’t exactly what I called scary, but what it was is poignant. Su-mi feels incredible guilt for not being able to protect her sister against their step-mother. This sense of regret makes her mad in every sense of the word. Her mind is jumbled. She doesn’t know who she is at times. Whose feelings she’s feeling. Whose actions she’s imitating. She wants to lash out at the person who laid the foundation for such a feeling: her step-mother Eun-joo. Su-yeon, on the other hand, is always quiet and is the ground whenever Su-mi feels groundless. She speaks when needed, but never too much. The acting is superbly done by all in the cast. Subtleties are key in this movie and viewers are warned to watch for every detail to fully understand the movie as the credits roll. The only drawback to the movie is the slow start. However, once the climax kicks in, what seems like 2 more climaxes come right after. The film has a huge twist and the characterization at the beginning helps the viewers completely understand Su-mi’s anguish.

Human emotions are  complicated things. It causes people to do things. Sometimes wonderful things come from it. Sometimes, unfortunately, it brings about sadness and consequences than can’t be undone. A Tale of Two Sisters fully illustrates one of human’s most enigmatic emotion: regret. Something that has no face like sadness or happiness, but exist only as a complicated psyche. It’s a whirlpool sort of feeling that continues to turn inside your soul until it generates enough power to launch something great, or something gruesome. When someone so close to you is just within your grasp and you can’t do a thing to protect him/her, nothing remains but this sinking feeling of why and how. A Tale of Two Sisters won’t make you watch your back as the movie ends, but instead it will make you questions what you’re doing to not be another Su-mi. A horror flick that’s packed with emotions more complicated than fear. It’s one not to be missed, even if you’re not the scary-movie type.

Overall Rating: A


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