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Tale of Two Sisters, A

Reviewed By Peter Sobczynski
Posted 12/10/04 15:58:09

"There isn't an original idea or scare to be had in its 115 minutes"
2 stars (Pretty Bad)

Thanks to the success of things like “The Ring” and “The Grudge”, multiplexes are quickly filling up with Americanized remakes of the top hits of the current wave of horror films that has been sweeping Asia; the early part of next year alone promises retreads of “The Ring 2” and “Dark Water” and I suppose it is only a matter of time before someone announces a remake of “Audition” to feature Mandy Moore. In a parallel development, many of the original films are now making their way to arthouses so that fans of the genre can see them on the big screen instead of on a fifth-generation videotape. Unfortunately, the drawback has been that while many of these films have sounded promising in theory, the actual films have rarely lived up to the hype.

The latest to make it to these shores is“A Tale of Two Sisters”-another film (this time from South Korea) in which innocent people in remote houses are terrified by ghostly children, whose hair invariably hangs in front of their faces, who like to jump out of nowhere and scare people while seeking revenge for the sins of the past. This time around, a pair of sisters return home to their distant father and evil stepmother after an unexplained hospital stay. Before long, stange things begin to happen; closests are filled with mysterious clothes, a dinner guest goes into hysterics for no reason and there appears to be a little girl hiding underneath the kitchen counter. Most, but not all, of the proceedings are explained in a series of revelations that will come as a surprise to precious few viewers.

A pastiche of such hits as “The Sixth Sense”, “The Ring” and “Ju-On: The Grudge”, there isn’t an original idea or scare to be had in its 115 minutes. It has been put together with a certain amount of style, I suppose, but that only goes so far before it becomes apparent that, like too many recent examples of the genre, the filmmakers apparently have no other scare tactics at their disposal other than having people suddenly pop into the frame while the soundtrack goes nuts. Fans of such films might get a kick or two out of it but for anyone else, the recent rumor that the upcoming American remake (Dreamworks has already snagged the rights) may be turned into a star vehicle for the Olsen twins will prove to be something far scarier than anything on the screen.

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