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A Tale of Two Sisters

no...you can't wear my hat...stop asking...

This movie is in Korean, with English subtitles.


Su-jeong Lim, Geun-Young Moon, Jung-ah Yum, Kap-su Kim

Father: I know you’re very angry with me.  And I know I’m a bad father.
Su-mi: You’re not even a bad father…

After being “away”, two sisters return home to live with their emotionally distant father and the stepmother they hate.  As tensions grow, and strange things start to happen around the house, secrets from the past are revealed.

To go any more in depth with the plot would be giving away too much about the movie.  Though, I’m not sure I could explain everything even if I tried.  Actually, I could probably do pretty well, but I was mightily confused there for a while and might have missed a few details.  In fact, after some revelations are made, the last 15 to 20 minutes of the movie are spent explaining everything, mostly through flashbacks.  Though, I must admit, it’s a pretty heartbreaking ending.

Despite it being a beautiful film to look at, with rich colors and creepy, yet lovely, settings, I couldn’t help but feel a little bored during the middle part of the movie.  There’s some tension built, and some strange imagery, but the scary stuff isn’t exactly original (or maybe it was in 2003 and I’ve seen too much of its ilk by now), and it’s all so confusingly mysterious that I was ready for some explanations to come along to help me out.  When the explanations did finally start to arrive, they added to the confusion at first before finally bringing things to a relatively satisfying conclusion.  Though, the movie does seem to cheat a little here and there in order to fool the audience.

I really liked the look of the movie and the sympathetic performances by Su-jeong Lim and Geun-Young Moon as Su-mi and Su-yeon.  They’re very good together.  I just wish the story had been more cohesive throughout rather than requiring the filmmakers to dump a big explanation on us at the end.

I noticed that there’s an American remake of this called The Uninvited.  A quick look at the trailer seems to indicate that the story has been run through the big Americanization machine a few times and has come out much lamer on the other side.  If you want to see this story told, do yourself a favor and watch this original version of it.

In Asian countries, all ghosts are relatively young females with long dark hair parted so you can see just part of their face.  And they all crawl slowly across the floor before standing up suddenly through quick editing.

10 – 2 for confusing storytelling that might cheat a little – .9 for explanation overload at the end = 7.1