A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

Original Title

장화, 홍련 Janghwa, Hongryeon





Lim Soo-jung, Moon Geun-young, Yum Jung-ah, Kim Kap-soo, Lee Seung-bi, Lee Dae-yeon, Park Mi-hyun, Woo Ki-hong


Two sisters, Soo-mi (Lim Soo-jung) and Soo-yeon (Moon Geun-young), after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father (Kim Kap-soo) and cruel stepmother (Yum Jung-ah). Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery.


I watched this film last night, and I gave myself some hours to think about it, to put together something good enough, something up to the level of this film, but instead I came to the conclusion that no matter what I'll write, this review will not do justice to the film. Not even saying it is one of the best horrors I've ever seen feels enough.

Confusing, creepy, and disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a blend of drama, horror and psychological thriller, all three at the top of their game.

Brilliantly written, the film has a complex, intricate plot, a bit confused at times, definitely more layered than the average horror film, and it might lack of true horror, but it's scary as few other films of the genre.

This film requires the viewer's attention for all the 110 minutes, but pays off. Paying attention to the dialogue, especially the father's, you might also be able to figure out what is going on, but if you don't, it's even better so you will enjoy the twist at the end.

Kim Jee-woon's style and direction are fantastic. He took his time to set everything up, and what many called a slow and boring film, has been for me a spectacular experience.

Mention worthy are the stunning slow moving cinematography by Lee Mogae, and the magnificent sound that skillfully alternates moments of silence to suggestive music. Among the great cast Lim Soo-jung and Yum Jung-ah stand out.

I absolutely have to watch this at least one more time, because I don't feel like I get all this film has to offer.


Eun-ju: Do know what's really scary? You want to forget something. Totally wipe it off your mind. But you never can. It can't go away, you see. And... and it follows you around like a ghost.


  1. I love this movie. It truly is brilliant. So creepy and disturbing is it, I never once found it dull. A word of advice: skip the American remake, The Uninvited.

  2. This movie is so great. I'm actually grateful to the American remake, The Uninvited because I watched this film because I knew the remake was coming. So glad I did.