A Tale of Two Sisters

2003

A Tale of Two Sisters

Critics Consensus

Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 60

83%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,294
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Movie Info

This supernatural horror film from Kim Jee-woon is inspired by the ancient Korean folktale "Jangha and Hongryun." Set in an isolated lakeside house, it begins with two young girls, Su-mi (Im Su-jung) and Su-yeon (Mun Geun-yeong), returning home after a period of hospitalization following the death of their mother. In the meantime, their father Mu-Hyun (Kim Gab-su) has married Eun-joo (Yeom Jeong-ah), whom the girls obviously despise. Strange, violent visions begin to disturb Su-mi and she becomes convinced that Eun-joo is keeping a dark secret from the family. The American remake rights to A Tale of Two Sisters were sold to Dreamworks SKG in 2003.

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Critic Reviews for A Tale of Two Sisters

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (9)

  • The atmosphere of mounting dread is matched by just-right performances, design and camerawork.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • This is a carefully structured film about grief and guilt, as well as horror. They don't resolve every disturbing moment or confusing element: they leave some questions hauntingly unanswered.

    Jan 17, 2006 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • The film feels haunted by the relationship between Im and Moon, who cling to each other in the face of a hostile hostess, even though that may not be their best option.

    Sep 26, 2005

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • There's a reason why Hollywood has been so busy in recent years remaking Asian horror movies. Scare for scare, they're generally better.

    Feb 25, 2005 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It may not be a pretty picture, but A Tale of Two Sisters is definitely a satisfying piece of less-is-more cinematic horror.

    Jan 30, 2005 | Rating: 3/4
  • The gorgeous slow-moving cinematography by Lee Mogae is remarkable.

    Jan 28, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Tale of Two Sisters

  • Aug 15, 2017
    A Tale of Two Sisters, ladies and gentlemen, is now my favourite horror film. I took some time to reflect (after an hour of calming down) and without a doubt I can honestly say this is a masterpiece. Yes yes yes yes YES! Words cannot describe how flipping perfect this film is. I'm not even going to detail the plot, just take my advice and watch it immediately. As I was entranced I kept thinking "...this all seems too familiar...", then it clicked. Hollywood remade this with a film called The Uninvited (underrated but inferior nonetheless). Interestingly that film only used one plot twist and is not half as creepy. I've never felt so terrified in all my life. Something about Asian ghost girls just...gives me nightmares. Two scenes in particular: one involves one of the sisters dreaming where a woman is clawing at the floor beside her bed and the other is towards the end and is set in a freezing room. Holy sweet mother of...*ahem* it physically made me hide behind a cushion. That's never happened to me before. Asian horror films are miles ahead of Hollywood. Kim Jee-Woon was stylish and made the tale extremely visual as opposed to masses of dialogue. The slow camera movements when scenes start to edge towards the horror direction and having every character move slower than paint drying, incredibly effective and unnerving. Not one, not two, but three "Oh My God!" moments where I literally flipped out in awe and excitement. Carefully constructed characters and a palpable sisterly bond between Su-Mi and Su-Yeon. Acting was incredible all round. The musical score was appropriately used, upbeat in the more cheerful moments and muted in the tense scenes. You think your step-mother was scary and/or evil? You've seen nothing yet. This woman is the definition of ominous, mental and most definitely haunting. In fact the whole experience was haunting and I cannot wait to watch it again. Easily, without a doubt, A Tale of Two Sisters gets the perfect rating. Definitely experience this, then give The Uninvited a watch and compare.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • May 18, 2014
    Unfolding like a Grimm fairy tale channeled through David Lynch, A Tale of Two Sisters is dreamlike, haunting, and thought provoking. Some of its plot points are disjointed. but the film works overall as a ghost story mixed with psychological thriller.
    Edward B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2014
    [img]http://images.rottentomatoes.com/images/user/icons/icon14.gif[/img]
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 15, 2012
    The initial twist isn't that surprising, but what it builds to in the final scenes is actually quite disturbing and rather shocking in a way I was not prepared for. The suggestion that memories, as opposed to actual spirits are the thing that manifests itself and haunts the characters is an interesting and effective concept.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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