Truly an exercise in internal horror, the glossy Tale of Two Sisters could just as easily have been called What Lies Beneath. A hit in its native Korea, Kim Jee-woon’s gothic-style spooker is only too happy to keep its audience guessing. Sisters Su-mi (Lim Su-jeong) and Su-yeon (Mun Geun-yeong) return to their father’s home from the hospital and repeatedly butt heads with their wicked stepmother (Yum Jung-ah). The symmetry of Kim’s compositions serves to heighten the unnervingly clingy relationship between the two girls, who engage in Prince of Tides-style revelry outside their home, a gaudy cottage of extreme physical beauty that threatens to unload its countless secrets at any given time. Unnervingly conflating fairy-tale lore with the angst of adolescent sexual development, the film is gimmicky but conceptually audacious. Only the women in the film seem to have access to the film’s horrors: Something may be living inside a metaphoric closet, perhaps the same presence spotted by a visiting young woman after a disturbing seizure forces her to stare into the dark abyss beneath the kitchen sink. A monster emerges at one point from between the legs of one of the sisters, whose monthly cycles are in perfect sync. Is it dream or reality? No one knows, nor does Kim attempt an answer, and it’s this dedication to reflecting the mystery of female sexual awakening in the patina of the film’s set pieces that keeps things chilly and distinguishes the film from other spookers currently on the market.
- Tartan Films
- 115 min
- Kim Jee-woon
- Kim Jee-woon
- Kim Kap-su, Yum Jung-ah, Lim Su-jeong, Mun Geun-yeong
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