A Tale of Two Sisters is about, well, two sisters. They travel to their home after what seems like some time away in a hospital to live there with their father and stepmother. Or maybe it’s just his lover. I’m not sure it’s ever expressly spelled out. While there, some weird shit happens.
Look, I know, at this point, how a movie review is supposed to go. I’m supposed to give a succinct synopsis about the film’s plot to whet your appetite, so you know whether or not you are interested in viewing it based on your taste in film. After said synopsis, I am to give you my opinion on the film, ranging from entertainment value, plot, script, dialogue, and technical aspects, including, but not limited to, direction, cinematography, and special effects.
Here’s the thing about A Tale of Two Sisters, which illustrates a reoccurring problem in horror/thrillers. After sitting through the film, I felt as though I had seen it before. In order to try and give a plot synopsis I would probably need to trot out the rote “it’s hard to give you a summary without ruining the twists in the film” cliché.
The film shares so many aspects with films like The Ring or The Grudge or The Sixth Sense or The Others or Identity or a number of other films I won’t name here because it is too much like them and would give away the plot of the entire film, that I don’t know how, if you watched it today, you could help but come away feeling as though you’ve already seen it. You know, the old, “things are not as they seem” angle.
And while I understand this film came out either before many of those films or around the same time as many of those films, it doesn’t change the fact I didn’t see it until after I had seen ALL of those films, as well as many others similar ones, and if you are reading this review looking for guidance as to what to watch this Halloween season, you have probably seen a great many of them as well.
It isn’t to say the film is poorly made. It’s well acted and directed, if a bit overlong, but, again, I had already guessed both of the twists well before they happened based on some clues I may not have picked up had I not seen films so similar. This may allow me to give the plotters and scriptwriters pats on the backs for being properly subtle without repeat viewings, but to already know what’s coming in a film built around the emotional resonance you are to feel when the surprises in plot are revealed leaves the rest of the film feeling a bit flat.
It’s a recommendable film if you are a horror/thriller fan, with the caveat being you are a horror/thriller fan who hasn’t seen most of the best horror/thrillers filmed in the past decade plus.
Written by Ryan Venson