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A Tale of Two Sisters
  |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |



Availability:

DVD (USA)
Region 1 NTSC
Tartan Asia Extreme
2-Disc Set
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Digital Surround
Removable English and Spanish Subtitles
Audio Commentaries with Director, Cast, and Crew; Original Promotional Footage, Behind The Scenes Featurettes, Cast Interviews, Deleted Scenes, Documentaries, Director's Analysis, Psychiatrist's Perspective, Photo Gallery, Two Hidden Easter Eggs

*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

Notes:
• Kim Jee-Woon wanted Jeon Ji-Hyun for the role of Su-Mi, and Im Soo-Jung actually auditioned for the part of Su-Yeon.
DreamWorks plans to do an American remake.
The Korean folktale that the film is based on is called "Janghwa Heungryeonjeon." In that tale, the sisters are named Janghwa (Rose Flower) and Hongryeon (Red Lotus). In the film, they are Su-Mi and Su-Yeon, which also mean Rose and Lotus respectively.


 
Korean: 장화, 홍련
Year: 2003
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
Producer: Ki-Min, Kim Young, Oh Jung-Wan
Writer: Kim Jee-Woon
Cast: Yeom Jeong-Ah, Im Soo-Jung, Moon Geun-Yeung, Kim Kap-Soo
The Skinny: From writer/director Kim Jee-Won comes this creepy, absorbing psychological horror film that stays with you long after its twisting tale is over.

Review by Calvin McMillin:

Things are most definitely not what they seem in Kim Jee-Woon's A Tale of Two Sisters, a creepy thriller that's refreshingly more about psychological terror and impending dread than it is about cheap scares or gross-out fright gags. Based on a Korean folktale, the film tells the story of two sisters who come back home after time spent in a sanitarium for undisclosed reasons. The older girl, Su-Mi (IM Soo-Jung), is always on the lookout for her younger sibling, the meek Su-Yeon (Moon Geun-Yeung). Although Su-Yeon simply wants to get along with everyone, Su-Mi still harbors some bitterness towards her weary father (Kim Kap-Soo) and possesses an out-and-out hatred for his pretty wife Eun-Joo (Yeom Jeong-Ah). But make no mistake: Eun-Joo isn't exactly the loving maternal type. In fact, she's pretty much the proverbial wicked stepmother. Hateful and conceited, Eun-Joo's plastic smile barely masks her utter contempt for her new daughters.

And if the family tensions weren't enough, things start to get a whole lot weirder when a ghost begins to haunt the two girls and Eun-Joo as well. When Eun-Joo's prize birds end up getting killed, the paranoia in the house only intensifies. Eun-Joo's cruelty comes out full-force, as she locks the defenseless Su-Yeon in a closet as punishment, an act that causes Su-Mi to seek revenge. As viewers begin to ask themselves whether this is a case of an actual supernatural haunting or not, even more pressing questions start to arise: What's happening to this family? How did it all come to this? Why doesn't her father do anything? And just what the hell is going on?

To its credit, the film is able to hold back on the answers in such a way that compels (rather than annoys) its audience, sucking viewers into its twisty, shocking narrative. To say anymore about A Tale of Two Sisters would risk giving too much away about its secret. But even if you guess what's going on, there's still a fine film on display here, one worthy of multiple viewings. If you subtract the horror elements, what remains is a tragic family drama, one that gives the movie a substantive core that sets it apart from grade-z horror shlock. Stylishly shot with an expert use of color and set design, the film's visual element only enhances its forbidding tale. A Tale of Two Sisters is the kind of movie that keeps you guessing until the very end, and a fine example that there's more to "Asian Horror" than what the countless Ring knockoffs would lead you to believe. (Calvin McMillin, 2005)


 
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