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A Tale of Two Sisters

New York Premiere

South Korea | 115 MINUTES | Korean |

A TALE OF TWO SISTERS

Wicked stepmothers don't come any more evil -- and fingernails don't rip off any bloodier -- than in this Korean psychological horror tale from the director of The Quiet Family and The Foul King. Returning from an unexplained hospitalization, the sisters Sumi and Suyeong face a long recovery in the countryside, but their young, icily beautiful stepmother Eunjee seems incapable of soothing their paranoia. With the maternal instincts of Mommie Dearest and an attitude halfway between neurotic and psychotic, Eunjee may not be a very good new mother, but she gets even worse once the sisters' old one makes a surprise appearance -- from beyond the grave. To say any more would ruin the surprises, but suffice it to say all the sinking fears of childhood -- that your sunny, warm home has suddenly grown cold, that your parents are whispering strangely in another room, and that your closet holds a darkness beyond evil, to which you will soon be shoved, are revisited and rekindled. Like The Shining and The Others, A Tale of Two Sisters proves that the most memorable horrors are those that creep up slowly, not in darkness, but in the blandness of everyday light; more terrifyingly, once there they are never explained, but left to linger in the mind. Based on a Korean folk tale, and boasting a chillingly realized, monstrous performance by Yeom Jeong-ah as the evil stepmother, the film became one of the year's biggest hits in Korea, prompting Dreamworks to snap it up for an American remake.