Directed By: Kim Jee-woon
Cast: Im Soo-jung, Moon Geun-young, Yeom Jung-ah, Kim Kab-su
Genre: Korean Horror/Thriller
Age Rating: 15 (BBFC)
Licensed By: Arrow Video
Release Date: Available Now
Su-mi is a teenage girl that has just returned home with her father, to their countryside residence after a spat of time in a mental institution. With her younger sister Su-yeon forever by her side, they have a cold reunion with their step mother Eun-joo. This family dynamic is not pleasant in the slightest, as it’s not long before there are clashes between Su-mi and her step mother, over the recent bruises that have appeared on her younger sister’ arms. With high tensions and emotions running through this home, its not unusual that a number of ghost appearances have begun. As Su-mi fights to protect her sister, she also uncovers the hidden items that belonged to their late mother. Whilst Eun-joo becomes mentally unhinged herself, while the man of the house is keeping his distance. Just what is the dark secret that binds them all together?
Now this was a truly tragic and haunting story, one that really hit hard when all was revealed near the end of the movie. Throughout the entire film, we see what is happening through Su-mi’s view. Where she returns home from hospital, to a house that doesn’t feel like home anymore due to the fact her step mother awaits them there. With her younger sister by her side, she goes about her days with resentment towards Eun-joo. One that grows even more dark and twisted, when Su-mi discovers just how long her step mother has been around her family. Ultimately this is a film about Korean folklore with a modern twist, specifically the story of ‘Janghwa Hongryeon jeon’. A story that has been adapted into film many times over the decades, but its ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ that gives it a modern adaption that also highlights severe mental trauma.
‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ was first released back in 2003, where it was the highest-grossing South Korean horror film and the first S. Korean picture to be screened in American theatres. It has since been given the high definition remaster treatment for BluRay release, and with it comes a plethora of bonus features from the wonderful team over at Arrow Video!
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
• Original DTS-HD MA 5.1 and uncompressed stereo audio
• Optional English subtitles
• Brand-new Audio commentary by Korean Cinema historian Pierce Conran & critic James Marsh
• Audio commentary by writer/director Kim Jee-woon, lighting cameraman Oh Seung-chul and cinematographer Lee Mo-gae
• Audio commentary by writer/director Kim Jee-woon and cast members Im Soo-jung and Moon Geun-young
• Always on the Move: The Dynamic Camera and Spaces of Master Stylist Kim Jee-woon, a brand-new visual essay by Korean Cinema historian Pierce Conran
• Spirits of the Peninsula: Folklore in Korean Cinema, a brand-new visual essay by cultural historian Shawn Morrisey
• Imaginary Beasts: Memory, Trauma & the Uncanny in A Tale of Two Sisters, a brand-new visual essay by genre historian and critic Kat Ellinger
• Behind the Scenes, an archival featurette shot during filming
– Outtakes, archival footage from set
• Production Design, archival featurette about the intricate look of the sets
• Music Score, archival featurette
• CGI, an archival featurette
• Creating the Poster, an archival featurette about the iconic original poster
• Cast Interviews, archival interviews with Kim Kab-su (Father), Yeom Jung-a (Stepmother), Im Soo-jung (Su-mi), and Moon Geun-young (Su-yeon)
• Deleted scenes with director’s commentary
• Director’s analysis, an archival featurette in which Kim Jee-woon discusses the complexity and ambiguities contained within the film and why they were important to him.
• Director’s thoughts on horror, an archival featurette in which Kim Jee-woon discusses his feelings about the horror genre.
• Psychiatrist’s Perspective, an archival featurette exploring the psychological reality behind the story of the film
• Theatrical Trailer
• Stills galleries
• Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Sister Hyde
And there is an exclusive to those that are lucky enough to buy the first pressing, as they will also receive an Illustrated booklet featuring new writing by critics Stacie Ponder and Anya Stanley, plus a new translation of the original Korean folktale that inspired the film.
A Tale of Two Sisters is still considered the highest grossing Korean horror film of all time, and rightly so. This film keeps the audience guessing until the very end, when all is revealed and you are left reeling in shock during the closing credits – I certainly was at least. Although at times the plot did appear confusing, I encourage you to watch to the very end for that jaw-dropping reveal.