A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
"Janghwa, Hongryeon" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Horror, Mystery  |  13 June 2003 (South Korea)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 40,582 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 233 user | 292 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family.


(as Kim Jee-woon)


(screenplay) (as Kim Jee-woon)
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15 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
Kap-su Kim ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Woo Ki-Hong ...
Dae-yeon Lee ...
Su-mi's Doctor
Seung-bi Lee ...
Park Mi-Hyun ...
Mrs. Bae (Su-mi's and Su-yeon's Mother)


Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fairytales have never been this Grimm See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 June 2003 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

A Tale of Two Sisters  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$94,923 (Hong Kong) (22 August 2003)


$95,697 (Hong Kong) (22 August 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Su-jeong Lim, who played Su-mi originally auditioned for the role of Su-yeon. See more »


In the hospital scenes, there is no scar on the back of Su-mi's hand. See more »


Bae Soo-mi: Shall we kill them?
Bae Soo-yeon: Let's set them free.
Bae Soo-mi: She'll have a cow if we mess with her precious. I'd hate to see that.
See more »


Remade as The Uninvited (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Unique and genuine Korean fright-poem!
16 April 2006 | by (the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids) – See all my reviews

The Beauty. The Terror. The Poetry. The Horror. The Innocence. The Guilt.

Maybe that's just about all I should write in this comment for A TALE OF TWO SISTERS. The best thing is to just watch this movie without knowing anything about it. I myself didn't even know one single thing about the history of the two girls when I went into this movie. I just took a look at the nice cover-art, didn't even read the synopsis on the back and popped it into DVD-player. I only knew that it won several prices on festivals around the world and that it came highly recommended.

The DVD-cover read "The Most Frightening Film since THE RING, THE GRUDGE and DARK WATER". Though the frightening-part might be right, you can forget about the rest, because the only thing A TALE OF TWO SISTERS has in common with those movie is... a ghostly apparition with long black hair. It's even a bit unfair to compare it with those famous Japanese movies, because this Korean movie has a lot more to offer and is in fact a bit more complicated and intelligent than those others.

This movie simply is a small masterpiece, and here are some reasons (without telling anything about the plot): The movie itself caught me off guard at least two times with clever surprise-twists. And just when you think you've had the conclusion (whether you get it or not, that's irrelevant for the moment) and you think the movie will end... this movie goes on a bit longer. The cinematography is amazing, using bright colors during the day and dark shades at night. The camera-work is excellent with the director sometimes choosing impressive, if not, innovating angles. Some shots are pure poetry (e.g. the top-shot with the two sisters at the lake). It all looks very stylish. There are only four main characters, but the intrigue surrounding them is intense. The story itself starts a bit slow, but there's a lot of variety in tone and emotions to keep it interesting. There was even one scene (when the girls took off towards the lake) that suddenly had me remembering Peter Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES. But when the horror kicks in, it's quite effective. There are also a few successful surprise-scares in it. Damn, I jumped right up from my sofa. The musical score is great, and at times when it's not supposed to be scary, I couldn't help but noticing that it had sort of an Italian feeling to it. A bit strange for a Korean movie. But nevertheless, a great score. So much care went into every detail of this film, including a perfectly balanced surround sound.

I also think that calling A TALE OF TWO SISTERS just a horror movie is giving it not enough credit. It's more a mysterious horror-drama that works both on a psychological and supernatural level. No matter how you look at it, this is Asian horror that ranks way up there amongst the finest. It might not be gory, but it gets pretty scary at times and the subject matter is pretty disturbed. So if you haven't seen it yet, then find a copy, pop it into your DVD-player, go with the flow and make sure you give this movie your full attention for it's 110 minutes running time.

There, I hope I did a good job praising it without spoiling anything.

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