“There was a girl under the kitchen sink”
I probably use the words “genius” & “masterpiece” too often on this site, but when it comes to A Tale Of Two Sisters those words are completely apt. It truly is a remarkable movie. One that needs repeated viewings to discover all the subtleties in a wonderfully crafted piece of storytelling. Director Kim Ji-woon has made one of the greatest psychological horror movies ever to grace the big screen.
As the movie begins Su-mi is brought home from a psychiatric hospital by her father, she is accompanied by her shy, introverted sister Su-yeon. Once at the house they are greeted by their stepmother Eun-joo. Su-mi is openly hostile towards Eun-joo & tensions between the two soon start to come to the boil. Su-yeon is experiencing nightmares about the girl’s real mother & takes comfort in Su-mi’s presence. Su-mi soon begins to suspect Eun-joo of physically abusing Su-Yeon & promises to protect her. Eun-joo complains to the girl’s father Mo-hyeon that since the girls returned to the house that there have been strange occurences, she sees a girl under the kitchen sink & her pet birds are found dead in her bed.
A Tale Of Two Sisters is a hard movie to write a plot synopsis for, as the movie gives subtle hints to the unfolding horror from the start. The plot itself is a multi-layered piece of slow burning horror, complete with a couple of jaw dropping plot twists that makes you (the viewer) completely re-evaluate what you have already seen. Director Kim Ji-woon takes his time with both story & characterisation. Allowing the audience to be drawn into the movie. He has made, in many ways an old-fashioned gothic horror story. One which slowly crawls under your skin, creating a genuine air of unease. The house, while maintaining some modern aspects is suitably dark & foreboding. The acting is exceptional all round. It would be impossible to single any cast member out, as each role is played perfectly. Describing any plot details is difficult as it would be very easy to give away minor plot spoilers. A Tale of Two Sisters is a movie you really need to watch knowing as little as possible. It is a movie that demands concentration, allowing the viewer to piece together the story & mystery as the plot unfolds. I have seen some reviews describe the movie as confusing & muddled. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a movie that doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience. Instead allowing them to discover the truth without being spoonfed the plot. This is a movie of rare depth & stands as a perfect example of just how good this genre of horror can truly be.
Please don’t take my word for it, watch this movie. It stands head & shoulders above the likes of The Grudge, Dark Water & Ringu. Possibly only Noroi can match the claustrophobic tension this movie creates. An unparralled masterpiece.