I was going to try and make up the missed day yesterday, but right now the jetlag is setting in and I’m having a bit of trouble with coherence. So we’ll stick with one movie and maybe I’ll add a double feature in later in the month.

My trip was great though! Visiting DC is always fun and I loved to get to see lots of people. So yay for that!

And now, I’ll attempt a scary movie post. This might be a short one. I don’t really know what words are right now…

A Tale of Two Sisters – South Korea, 2003. Dir. & Screenplay Jee-Woon Kim. Starring Kap-Su Kim, Jung-ah Yum, Su-jeong Lim, Geun-Young Moon.

Oh do I love A Tale of Two Sisters. It’s been one of my favorites pretty much since I first saw it. You know, back in college, with my DVD from who knows where. The subtitles for the first half of the movie were completely wrong and it took me years to finally figure out what was happening. But I loved it anyway. I know I wrote a little bit about my adventures in tracking down foreign horror films last year when I wrote about Ju-on. This is another one of those mystery region DVDs.

A Tale of Two Sisters still surprises me by how good it is. I don’t know why. I’ve seen it enough times now to know, I should be surprised anymore. Even so, every time I watch I find myself delighted once again by the beauty and the moodiness of the location and the cinematography. Or profoundly disturbed by the visions of the girls’ dead mother. Or confused and intrigued by the mystery of what exactly is going on in that house.

This film does something unique in its final act. Yes, it has a twist that you may or may not see coming. But it doesn’t let that twist define the rest of the movie. Instead, somethings are explained and others are left ambiguous. After a point, it becomes difficult to discern what is the reality of the story and what is the fantasy. Which may not sound like a good thing, but trust me, it is. It makes me at least always happy to revisit it, to try and peel away the layers and figure out what’s really happening. It’s challenging and I appreciate that.

It’s as much a fairytale as it a ghost story. The film is based on a Korean fairytale and those fairytale elements are present throughout. With a twist of the gothic, the fairytale becomes the horror story.

I really want to write more about this movie, about the different ways you can look at it all – psychoanalytical, as an allegory and exploration of female coming of age, the gothic parts and the fairytale parts. But I am literally falling asleep at my computer right now. I think I’m going to have to come back to this another time.

So I guess I’ll just leave you with one final expression of my love of this movie. It’s a great ghost story with some wonderful, genuinely scary moments, and one that I think is worth revisiting a few times. Every time I watch I find something new to think about. And it still makes me jump. What more can I ask for in a scary movie? I don’t know.