Written by Zena, REAL QUEEN OF HORROR
If you guys didn't know this, I have a thing for Korean cinema, especially horror...duh! I first saw A Tale of Two Sisters about 10 years ago and have been in love with it since.
The film is based on a Korean folktale "Janghwa Hongryeon Jeon" or in English, "The Story of Rose Flower and Red Lotus". This film was directed by the awesome Jee-woon Kim, who also directed I Saw The Devil (2010). Although this film was inspired by a Korean folktale, it's simply modernized and does not lose the original story line. Anyhow! On with the review! The film opens to the inside of a mental institution with a teenage girl, Su-Mi, who is suffering from an unknown illness. The story, of course, unfolds as to why she is there later on. Su-Mi is released from the institution and we are shown a large, beautiful house beside a lake. Su-Mi's sister Su-Yeon and their Father pull up in a car. The two sisters are a bit hesitant to exit the car, but when they do, the two run to the nearby lake.
Later on, when the girls return to the house, they are welcomed in an overwhelming manner by their stepmother Eun-joo, whom the two sisters show a major discomfort towards. Throughout the film, it's clear that the two sisters have a strong bond. Su-Mi is older than Su-Yeon, so she's very protective over her, perhaps even overly protective. Since the first night, Su-Mi and Su-Yeon have had frightening visions of creepy people entering their bedroom, long-haired women crawling towards them and so much more. One day, Su-Mi finds bruises on her Su-Yeon's arm and demands to know who did it, though she's sure her stepmother was responsible.
Things start to unfold, revealing that stepmother Eun-joo is not who she appears to be. She is cruel, violent and controlling. Eun-joo becomes jealous at any affection the girls show towards their own father. There's tension that arise between the sisters and the stepmother.
The actress, Yeom Jeong Ah, who plays Eun-joo has plenty of grace in her role; and honestly, she easily steals the movie! Due to her flawless performance, it is easy to hate her! That's a good thing, right? Eun-joo even goes as far as locking Su-Yeon in a closet, demanding an apology after she finds pictures of herself crossed out by the girls and her beloved bird dead in Su-Yeon's bed. What's completely cruel about this act that the closet Su-Yeon is thrown into is the same place where her mother hung herself. Once Su-Mi finds this out, things take a turn for the worst with plenty of gory, surprises.
This film has a lot of MAJOR twists that I did not see coming! Honestly, that's what's refreshing about this whole film. It's in the horror category, but I'd say it's a psychological thriller with a slow burn. This is definitely not a one time film; this type of film needs to be watched at least twice so you can discover new details you may have missed the first time around. Obviously, with this review, I left out CHUNKS of details because I hope to encourage you to pick up the film and experience it yourself! The film was shot beautifully and carefully. There's plenty of beautiful colors and the writing is almost flawless. The combination of the filming and writing strongly reveals elements what new horror films are lacking today.
Overall, I recommend A Tale of Two Sisters. There are plenty of jumps, an amazing story line and superb acting. I have no complaints whatsoever. This film will definitely be a great topic to share with people!
5 out 5 queen skulls!