A Tale of Two Sisters
Starring:
Kap-su Kim, Su-jeong Lim, Geun-yeong Mun
Directed By:
Ji Woon Kim
Grade
A

A Tale of Two Sisters is a strange ride that convinces you that the story must take a certain path, only to throw you a curve that will leave you scratching your head, even with the history of the events played out for you in flashback. The movie begins with two sisters returning to their home after spending time in a mental institute after the death of their mother. In this home, an emotionally absent father and a mean-spirited stepmother make the reaclimation difficult. And when things seem like they can't get worse, obvious signs of a haunting turn up, putting extra stress on the frail minds of the girls.

While there is little use of special effects, the strength of the haunting lies in more primal themes. Scares are drawn from the things that haunt most children - scraping noises from somewhere out of sight, shadows that move in the periphery of vision. There are more than a few moments where something moves, forcing the viewer to keep their eyes open. Except for a few sequences, more of the horror is shocked to the viewer, throwing them off-guard. But in those few sequences, the horror is shockingly intense.

Most of the oriental horror that I've seen in recent years has been plagued with some melodramatic performances that have served to make the whole experience weaker. To its credit, AToTS provides some excellent performances. Even the minor characters fit into their roles well. The major players act as though consumed with their respective characters and when events work their way out, you feel that their emotions are real.

AToTS is quite deliberate in the way its directed. The movie slowly builds, taking time to draw you in. When it finally does pull back the veil to reveal its terror, the movie shifts into a higher gear and really drags you along. And, once you think you've got the story in your mind, it completely takes a hard turn.

A Tale of Two Sisters is a refreshing entry in the eastern style of horror. Its obviously not for everyone as the pacing and mindgames involved may put off more straightforward viewer, but those looking for a more cerebral movie will surely enjoy this flick.

- - Kinderfeld

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