A Tale of Two Sisters

I don’t normally spring for the Asian horror flicks. I think some of them are extremely creepy and effective, but most of them are just a little bit too similar to one another. I’m going to recommend one though. My all time favorite Asian horror film is A Tale of Two Sisters.

If you’ve seen it, you probably know it kicks ass. If you haven’t, see it now. I suppose I should elaborate just a tad. 

This movie works both as a horror film and as a drama. It has some of the best acting I’ve ever seen in the genre. The cinematography is really outstanding too. I don’t want to outwardly spoil anything in it for you, but I will be treading ever so slightly into spoiler territory. I won’t ruin any surprises for you, but if you want a truly pure experience, just run and watch it now.

One of the reasons the film really works for me is that it allows for every incident of a “ghostly vision” be interpreted as either a real ghost, or as more of a metaphorical ghost, a manifestation of guilt. I don’t mean that it tries to be arty and pretentious with it. I’m saying that the scenes that do have some supernatural element to them make sense in terms of the characters that are experiencing them. They don’t have good looking people and stock characters that are there just so that they can die, each scary scene is carefully thought out.

Hopefully the people who don’t mind a little spoiler info are gone here. I wrote in “a twisted post” about movies that have twist endings and that artificially inflating people’s view of them. This movie has some twists and surprises for sure. These are not thrown in to make you watch the movie twice, they all make a certain kind of sense.

Like so many of these movies where you see clue after clue and then it “all comes together”, you are eventually shown in a flashback the entire story that fills in all the blanks. I may have made that sound disappointing. It isn’t. By the end of the film, you aren’t left with a sense of fear of whatever might appear in your room when you are trying to go to sleep, you’re left with a kind of crushing sadness. Pay attention to the last few moments. They’re some of the most beautiful and sad moments ever in a horror film.

I’ve tried to sell it as a drama and well written film with ghosts in it, but let’s talk about the scares and creepy stuff. There aren’t wall to wall scares in this film. The creepy scenes that are there will petrify you. Like I said, they won’t continue to haunt you afterwards … although a few lines and images might stay with you. “There was a girl under the sink” springs to mind.

I hear they’re doing a remake. I think you can say that phrase for almost any horror film that was halfway good. I implore you, if you can handle any type of subtitles, and any degree of horror film, check this out. I recommend this even for the non horror fans (apparently a bunch of you wordpressers are up on your Alice Munro knowledge and something tells me there isn’t a huge crossover audience). 

Check this movie out. If you disagree, you can follow me around like a ghost.


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December 2008
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