A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

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Avg Rating: 4.4 / 5. Voted: 76

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AKA: Janghwa Hongryeon, Rose Flower Red Lotus
Year: 2003
Directed by: Kim Jee-woon
Starring: Im Soo-jung (Su-mi), Moon Geun-young (Su-yeon), Yum Jung-ah (Eun-joo, the step-mom), Kim Kap-soo (Dad)
Country: South Korea, Asian Cinema
Language: Korean (English Subtitles)
Runtime: 01:54:31
Genres: Horror, Domestic Abuse, Siblings-Family

Plot – Spoilers:
Like a lot of Asian cinema, A Tale of Two Sisters is a rich experience in colours and aesthetics, apart from the fantastic horror.

Two sisters, Su-mi and Su-yeon, head to their countryside home and are greeted by their young step-mom, Eun-joo, who initially seems eager to please. Su-yeon who is younger, follows Su-mi’s cues and the new family’s dinner table interactions are awkward and tense with the girls hostile to step-mom while Dad remains distant and weary.

Su-yeon is weaker and more susceptible to intimidation and often complains of torment at the hands of Eun-joo when Su-mi is not around to protect her. As the hours and days pass, it becomes clear to all that something’s not right with the house and perhaps even Eun-joo.

The horror in A Tale of Two Sisters is sophisticated and though you might be familiar with many of the angles and jump moments, the rich visual imagery and beautiful music makes it refreshingly fresh for a movie that is over 15 years old.

Favourite Scenes:
Yum Jung-ah as Eun-joo is quite entertaining with her expressions when she goes through wild mood swings and the dinner conversation with her brother and sister-in-law is the best of them all.

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August 7, 2022 1:30 pm

friendly reminder.. always check out if u hear sounds.

October 19, 2021 2:28 am

Pathetic! It was more like watching extended episodes of a crappy TV series rather than an f’d up movie

September 6, 2021 5:38 pm

Not bad.. Theres a certain gracefulness and artistic beauty that these kind of movies carry compared to most mainstream west/hollywood films.

July 26, 2021 9:41 am

Starts off a little slow but holy shit go in completely blind if possible very intense and probably one of the best films on the site 10/10

Reply to  FrankyTeardrop
July 28, 2021 8:20 am

FrankyTeardrop, you are right: ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ is one of the best most movies on this site, surpassed only, perhaps, by ‘A Touch of Sin’, ‘Memories of Murder’, ‘Hana-bi’ and ‘I Saw the Devil’. I am most grateful to the Admins for putting up these magnificent Asian movies, and for not viewing effedup as limited to violence and splatter. I look forward to seeing Kim Ki-duk’s ‘The Isle’ here soon, which is more representative for the work of this director, and better, than ‘Moebius’, even though the latter movie reminds me of the political movie ‘Themroc’, which I also hope to see here one day!

Ralph Nadir
Ralph Nadir
December 31, 2020 6:32 am

So happy to see this here. I think this is a classic of Korean horror. Not as fucked-up and debased as the other movies on this site, but it’s so good. Just the way that the wallpaper in the dining room changes, or the lighting in any given scene. It’s suffocating and scary. Thanks for hosting EUM.

July 12, 2020 3:47 pm

nice movie, i’m usually not into paranormal movies, but this is actually different and i enjoyed it

apple sauce
apple sauce
Reply to  princessdestruction#8028
September 13, 2020 9:11 pm

you actually understood it? i have no idea what happened,
so it was a ghost story and then a schizophrenia story. but it was a whost story all along, and the ending jjust confused me more. pls explain

Reply to  apple sauce
September 20, 2023 5:05 am

I know, there’s a lot going on. I recommend reading the plot on Wikipedia and then rewatching it.

April 12, 2020 5:25 am

Good Korean ghost story. Good twist at the end, paranormal horror without the violence and gore.