Thursday, October 12, 2006

A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongryeon)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: In a strange modern fairy-tale gone wrong, two young sisters return home from a mental institution only to find themselves having to deal with a crazed and evil step-mom and a house that appears to be haunted.

Scariness factor: Oh hell yes. I had chills running up and down my spine in a few scenes, and afterwards, I had a brief moment of panicked creeped-outedness while showering.

Gross-Out Factor: Minus some blood, you won't see much.

Complaints: I had a problem piecing together the logic of some of the movie into a coherent whole, but I suspect this would just need a second viewing to clear it right up. I also had mixed feelings about the plot-twist (though it was well-done, no doubt)--I'd make a comparison to another similar movie (or two) to voice my complaints, but then I'd ruin the twist for you, so my lips are sealed. I think this is probably just my own hang-up anyways--I'm beginning to find the obligatory plot-twist a bit tiresome. And despite the potentially irritating plot-twist, the movie has so much other good stuff to offer that I'm willing to overlook this one weaker point.

High Points: This movie is strange, beautiful, provocative, and haunting. And to top it all off, it's creepy as all get out. As I mentioned earlier, I actually got chills in a few scenes and I carried this sense of creepiness with me for the rest of the night. Granted, there are images that ring of other movies (Ringu for example), but you're willing to forgive the instance or two where this is the case, simply because they still manage to keep the moment damn creepy. One of the best scenes in this movie (one that creeped me out royally) is when the visitors to the house are driving home afterwards, and the woman turns to her husband to reveal something she had seen while there--gahhhh, *trying to subdue the shivers*. See it--you'll see what I mean. The acting is quite good and nicely understated (particularly with the two girls). The movie is visually quite lovely and devastating at the same time--bold colors, nice camera-work. At one point in the movie, you'll become suddenly very confused and disoriented and unsure of what's going on, but this is *good*, folks. Hang in there. It'll make sense eventually. And if it doesn't clear up 100%, it's ok--go with it. You won't care because the movie has too much other good stuff going for it to distract you.

Overall: I really quite liked this movie. It is really spooky and creepy. It has the lovely ring of a demented fairy-tale. And it is strange and beautiful. Definitely worth checking out.

Grade: A



At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found your page while searching "Hard Candy"(fantastic movie), and "The Tale of Two Sisters" literally scared me shitless a year or so back.

Also, great name. Love The Shining. Read the book?


At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This movie is definitely one of my favorite Asian horror movies!


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