Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "A Tale of Two Sisters" or "Janghwa, Hongryeon" or "Red Rose, Red Lotus")

 

directed by Kim Ji-woon
South Korea 2003

 

That Asia is making great horror films should be obvious to everyone now, especially after Hollywood have begun remaking them by the numbers. The wave began with Nakata’s “The Ring” in 1998 and even though I’m not a particular fan of it, it’s influence and impact is so strong, that most horror films today are weighted by it, as “A Tale of Two Sisters”, which on its cover says, “The most frightening film since RING”. Personally I find “A Tale of Two Sisters” a far better horror film, and judging from the films we’ve seen over the recent years, Asian horror is still developing and we can expect many more great horror films in the years to come.

Following the death of their mother, the two sisters Su-mi and Su-yeon have spend some time recovering at a mental hospital, and are now returning home to their father, and their new “mother”. Already on their first night at home, strange things start to happening: footsteps, doors opening by themselves, and it soon is obvious, that the sisters isn’t what their stepmother had hoped for and she isn’t what the sisters want. Is it ghosts? Is it the stepmother who is playing tricks on them? Or is it something else?

What may appear as a modern retelling of an old folktale is nothing short of one of the most intelligent horror film yet to come from Asia, and the best Korean horror film to date. Kim knows his horror and plays the audience with all tricks in the book. For me personally, great horror should never attempt to outsmart the audience, nor should the explanation. While it is suspension of disbelief, if the explanation completely disarms the value of the horror, the horror will stand by itself, either empty or illogic. Kim never disarms the horror. We, the audience, is never sure of what really goes on, and even if we believe we have figured it all out, Kim plays us by using imagery which makes us become uncertain, thus believing in the horror. When the final revelation then arrives and we realise what really goes on, the horror is not disarmed, but only intensified.

But its not enough to just being able to tell a great horror story. This is where Lee Mo-gae, the DoP, and Oh Seung-chul, the lighting director, comes in. We all know that something is lurking in the shadows, that someone is standing behind the person we see, but we still want to be surprised, and thanks to some amazing mise-en-scene and lighting, those shadows are just a tiny bit more obscure and that someone who stands behind someone else is just revealed a bit more frightening. Also score and sound is top notch in “A Tale of Two Sisters”. One really have to bless the inventor of surround sound, as it really allows sounds to attack you from any direction, only adding to your confusion.

Finally let me say a few praising comments for the actors, especially Im Soo-jung and Yeom Jung-ah, who plays the stepmother to perfection, ranging from overly ecstatic happy happy joy joy to cold and calculating. This again all reflects back onto Kim’s character direction. Solid.

Good horror is rare these days, great horror is next to nowhere to be found, so when a film like “A Tale of Two Sisters” comes along, horror fans really have to bless themselves. It is not perfect, it may be a bit confusing at times, and some may feel some scenes are a bit too long, but who am I kidding? Its all about getting chills, and “A Tale of Two Sisters” delivers.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: June 13th, 2003 - South Korea

Reviews       More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC vs. Palisades Tartan Video - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow and Gregory Meshman and Jani Kauppila for the DVD Screen Caps!

1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

On HMV exclusive for 3 months:

Distribution

Tartan Asia Extreme

Region 2 - PAL

Tartan Asia Extreme
Region 1 - NTSC
Metro DVD
Region 3 - NTSC

Palisades Tartan

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:49:51 (4% PAL speedup) 1:49:40 1:54:26 1:54:31.431
Video

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.52 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.83:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.50 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.33 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,559,005,638 bytes

Feature: 20,728,719,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition)

 

Bitrate:

 

Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set)

 

Bitrate:

 

Metro DVD (2-disc)

 

Bitrate:

 

Blu-ray

Audio Korean (Dolby Digital 2.0), Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (DTS)

Korean (Dolby Digital 2.0), Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1), Korean (DTS)

Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX), Korean (DTS-ES 5.1)

DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 2073 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2073 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Korean 1363 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1363 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Subtitles English, None English, Spanish, None Korean, English, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Asia Extreme

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with Kim Ji-woon (28:27)
• Audio Commentary by Kim Ji-woon and Im Soo-jung
• Audio Commentary by Kim Ji-woon, Lee Mo-gae and Oh Seung-chul
• Disc 2:
• Behind the Scenes (23:55)
• 4 production featurettes (30:27)
• 12 Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary (27:51) and Outtakes (3:32)
• Interviews with Kim Kab-su (10:47)
• Interviews with Yeom Jung-ah (9:52)
• Interviews with Im Soo-jung (12:35)
• Interviews with Moon Geun-young (13:16)
• An Explanation by the Director (10:26)
• Directors Thoughts on Horror (15:50)
• A Psychiatrist Perspective (5:20)
• Stills Gallery

DVD Release Date: November 22nd, 2004
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Tartan Asia Extreme

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.83:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Kim Ji-woon and Im Soo-jung
• Audio Commentary by Kim Ji-woon, Lee Mo-gae and Oh Seung-chul
• Disc 2:
• Behind the Scenes (23:54)
• 4 production featurettes (30:27)
• 12 Deleted Scenes with Audio Commentary (27:51) and Outtakes (3:32)
• Interviews with Kim Kab-su (10:47)
• Interviews with Yeom Jung-ah (9:52)
• Interviews with Im Soo-jung (12:35)
• Interviews with Moon Geun-young (13:16)
• An Explanation by the Director (10:26)
• Directors Thoughts on Horror (15:50)
• A Psychiatrist Perspective (5:20)
• Stills Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: March 29th, 2005
Amaray

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Metro DVD

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary with director, director of lighting and cinematographer
• Commentary with director
• Trailer
• Disc 2:
• Story of Janghwa, Hongryeon (23:54)
• 4 interviews with actors (46:25 total)
• 15 deleted scenes with audio commentary (31:10 total)
• Key scenes with different actors (3:31)
• Production design (12:09)
• Music score (6:11)
• CG (6:02)
• Poster (6:08)
• Tea table discussion about the film? (26:15)
• See the movie with psychiatrist (5:18)
• Gallery (4:27)

 

DVD Release Date: October 24th, 2003
Digipack

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Palisades Tartan

 

1080i Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 22,559,005,638 bytes

Feature: 20,728,719,360 bytes

Video Bitrate: 17.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
• Behind the Scenes (23:55 in SD)

 

Blu-ray Release Date: November 2nd, 2009
Standard (thicker) UK Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Addition: Palisades / Tartan Blu-ray - December 09': Well this is a very poor rendering of the film. As well as being in 1080i (interlaced) - it also looks incredibly soft - especially next to the Metro DVD. Whether this is DNR or not - it still looks like crap. Audio seems improved but there are no substantial extras - no commentary or interviews - just the 24-minute 'Behind the Scenes' in SD. This is not the direction the new format wants to ascend. Pass.

****

ON THE DVDs: Metro DVD: Judging by the runtimes, Tartan seem to have used an unconverted PAL source in their NTSC edition. The image on the Metro Korean DVD differs clearly from the other two. First thing to notice is the yellow tint most obvious in the second capture. The Metro DVD preserves detail better (capture 1). A big negative point is that the screen shakes noticeably almost all of the time. I don't know if this phenomenon is present on the Tartan versions.

The translation looks similar on all three. However, some bits are left un-translated on the Korean DVD, for example the letter by the father. Extras are not subtitled on the R3.

 - Jani Kauppila

 



DVD Menus
(Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - LEFT vs. Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample

 


1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Tartan Asia Extreme (2 Disc Special Edition) - Region 2 - PAL - TOP

2) Tartan Asia Extreme (Special 2-Disc Set) - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Metro DVD (2-disc) - Region 3 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Palisades Tartan - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 


Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

?

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras:

Menu:

 

DVD Box Covers

Thinking of buying from YesAsia? CLICK HERE and use THIS UPDATED BEAVER PAGE to source their very best...

 

On HMV exclusive for 3 months:

Distribution

Tartan Asia Extreme

Region 2 - PAL

Tartan Asia Extreme
Region 1 - NTSC
Metro DVD
Region 3 - NTSC

Palisades Tartan

Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 





 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,

   CANADA

Thank You!