Kap-su Kim, Su-jeong Lim, Geun-yeong Mun
Ji Woon Kim
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
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.