“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.”
With the exception of the inexplicable detour where he did an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie in America, director Kim Jee-Woon has an impeccable track record. If you’re ever looking for an insane, enjoyable way to spend an evening, you should watch his frenetic take on the Western, The Good, the Bad, the Weird (bonus, Song Kang-ho is in it).
With A Tale of Two Sisters, Kim’s weird sensibilities and inventive visual style are put to great use in the K-Horror genre. It’s strange, disorienting, and enjoyably creepy throughout. It’s weird and disturbing, but actually pretty tame by K-Horror standards.
There were plenty of things I wasn’t into. For one, the Japanese and Korean horror trope of eerily contorted ghost girls with long black hair covering their faces is certainly subject to diminishing returns. Kim does it really well, but it’s still a bit tired at this point, and would have already been a bit tired all the way back in 2003 when this movie came out. Also, when a filmmaker is working really hard to keep the audience off-balance and unaware of what’s happening, there is always a fine line between tricking the audience and lying to the audience, or merely pulling twists out of thin air, which is something A Tale of Two Sisters doesn’t always get right. Also, some of the reveals were a bit cliche in the milieu of the late 90’s and early 00’s.
Still, even with the weaknesses this was still a great way to get your ghost film or K-Horror fix.
Will I Ever Watch It Again? I’d say it’s 50/50.