Why This Korean Horror Movie Was Groundbreaking

Dialogue takes a again seat to the iconographic components of horror movies, thus creating the power to frighten the worldwide neighborhood whatever the particular person spoken languages. This transnational attraction could be tied to Kim Jee-Woon’s 2003 South Korean thriller horror A Story of Two Sisters, which was an enormous financial success in its nation of origin and worldwide.

Not solely was 2003 a major 12 months for Korean cinema (Oldboy, Recollections of Homicide), however A Story of Two Sisters was groundbreaking for additionally bringing South Korean cinema to the world stage. It was the primary Korean horror movie to be screened in the US and even spawned an American remake with The Uninvited (2009). A Story of Two Sisters is an important movie in cinematic historical past and proves that horror is a common language.


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The story of A Story of Two Sisters derives from the Joseon Dynasty, which dates again to the thirteenth century and the final 5 hundred years earlier than the Korean Empire emerged in 1897. This story tells the story of two useless sisters whose ghosts go to a city. The unique fairytale has a contented ending, though the movie doesn’t.


The movie begins with a close-up of a person washing his palms, though his palms are usually not soiled. He’s not in a rest room, however a dimmed-light room with a desk and two chairs, seemingly awaiting an vital assembly. Is that this man a metaphor for feeling some type of guilt, as he retains making an attempt to clean away one thing that the viewer can not see? The viewers is then launched to a younger woman, Su-mi (Im Soo-Jung), in apparent turmoil. She is in a hospital robe, and the person reveals her an image of her household: a father, mom, two daughters, and one other lady on the aspect.

The movie then cuts to a closeup of a home, and it’s discovered that Su-mi is getting back from a psychological establishment. She arrives house together with her father, Mu-hyeon (Kim Kap-Soo), stepmother Eun-joo (Yum Jung-ah) and youthful sister, Su-yeon (Moon Geun-Younger). Because the movie progresses, disturbing situations start to happen: Eun-joo’s hen will get mutilated, Su-mi sees Eun-joo dragging a blood-filled sack, and she or he frequently sees Eun-joo abusing Su-yeon.

Straight away, the gothic presentation of the home is acknowledged by the worldwide viewer as a typical generic component of horror. This acknowledged commonality makes the movie very comprehensible to a transnational viewers. The cinematography captures the magnificence of the Korean countryside with its lakefront setting and architectural magnificence then contrasts this to the colours and brightness of the home. As soon as the digital camera leaves the skin and enters the home, the colours and lighting change from vivid to darkish. Even the wallpaper itself appears to own an evil lifetime of its personal. Lee Byung-woo’s eerie rating provides to the movie’s general environment: melodic guitars and strings, sounding like a fairytale, but its minor tones spotlight a extra miserable nature.

The story, though Korean, turns into transnational with its acquainted Grimm’s Fairy Tale’ characters and themes: depraved stepmother, baby abuse, psychological establishment, haunted home, and the useless looking for retribution. The story’s folklore precedes the struggle that may cut up Korea into two nations, however the nationwide adherence to the story supersedes any geopolitical occasions. Kim garnered from this story the nationwide ancestral and historic themes it had carried for thus lengthy, then layered it with the fears and instability of the fashionable Korean household. By underlying this present unease with the Korean nuclear household and aligning it with the trepidation all households incur, the director provides one other stratum of transnational id.

Lately, Individuals have been obsessive about Korean cinema. Youn Yuh-Jung gained finest actress for her function in Minari, in addition to Bong Joon-ho profitable finest image for Parasite in 2020. This doesn’t imply that Korean cinema was solely profitable in recent times although, as A Story of Two Sisters was one of many first, and remains to be thought-about to be one among South Korea’s best psychological horror movies of all time. When interviewed about A Tale of Two Sisters, director Kim Jee-Woon acknowledged, “I feel a film is on the borderline between the truth and another world. For me, expressing the actual world with the actual language shouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, expressing the actual world with incredible, movie language is extra enjoyable. I feel that movie is a door from the actual world to the opposite world, to the opposite aspect…And finally, movie is about digging from one other world into what is going on on within the actuality.”


This borderline of actuality is highlighted when Su-mi retains telling her father that their stepmother is abusing Su-yeon, and her father in some way retains dismissing it. This makes the viewers indignant and confused, that’s till her father lastly proclaims the traumatic fact. Su-yeon is useless. It’s now revealed that Su-mi has been affected by dissociative id dysfunction, and she or he and her father have been alone in the home all the time. She embodied Eun-joo’s character and imagined her sister was there when in actuality, she’s been gone for the whole lot of the movie. Flashbacks are then proven disclosing the reality. The viewer can see Su-mi’s terminally in poor health mom hanging herself within the closet after discovering out about Mu-hyeon and Eun-joo’s affair, in addition to Su-yeon making an attempt to avoid wasting her however the closet door falling on her and suffocating her to demise.

Ultimately, sure, A Story of Two Sisters is a horror film, however actually, it’s a story about grief. Similar to horror is a common language, so are demise and struggling. The movie is a ghost story at its floor however can also be a heartbreaking research of a household torn aside by loss and grief.

The web brings individuals collectively in an immediacy not attainable till very lately. Any alternate of cultural concepts and nationwide occasions in faraway locations is delivered to our consideration in real-time. With the onslaught of persistently increasing social media, the concept of nationwide and transnational filmmaking start to merge, and A Story of Two Sisters is partly to for that.

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