Jeremy enjoys reviewing cinema and television when not working as a chemist.
"A Tale of Two Sisters" and "The Uninvited"
2003's horror-drama A Tale of Two Sisters received many accolades and became the first Korean film to be screened in American theaters. Six years later, America adapted the movie into The Uninvited, another scary movie I highly recommend.
Focusing on the conflict between two loving sisters and their stern stepmothers, both movies offer tense experiences and engaging plot twists while refraining from the gratuitous gore and sex scenes often found in horror films. But while the two contain similar plots, the characters, settings, and storylines diverge, making them far from identical—which reigns supreme? Without delving into spoilers, here are the pros and cons of A Tale of Two Sisters and The Uninvited!
A Tale of Two Sisters
- Better horror
- Better acting
- Better reviews
Compared to its American update, the film's biggest triumph is its amazing scary scenes. There are still a few jump scares, but you're just as often terrified by the disturbing visuals that aren't popping out at you, a testament to the film's direction. And critical reviews for Two Sisters are almost unanimously positive, beating out Uninvited's mixed-to-positive scores.
- Subtitles mandatory (unless you speak Korean)
- Harder to follow
- Longer runtime (1 hour 54 minutes)
While not really Two Sisters' fault, you're gonna need subtitles unless you speak Korean, dissuading some purists. The film's plot is more complicated than Uninvited's; some would champion this as a good thing, but it can potentially ruin the twist's impact if viewers don't follow it. Two Sisters also takes its time with buildup, clocking in at almost two hours—pretty hefty for a horror film. Don't get me wrong, it's done well, but some fans might prefer faster payoffs.
- Shorter runtime (1 hour 27 minutes)
- Better graphics
- Subtitles optional (unless you don't speak English)
Some of The Uninvited's advantages to American audiences aren't so much a product of quality cinema as much as tailoring to our culture. The movie definitely has better graphics, but that's to be expected considering its six-year technological edge. And it's the clear victor for English-speaking viewers who don't like subtitles.
I also prefer its runtime, cutting much of its predecessor's "fluff" to shave off almost a half-hour, hitting the same notes without devoting as much time to setup.
- More reliant on jump scares
- Twist easier to predict
Despite Uninvited's technologically-superior graphics, the original undoubtedly beats it with the horror scenes. That's not to say Uninvited isn't scary, but it tends to lean more on cliche jump scares than simple ambiance. The twist is also easier to predict, but to be fair, that's partially due to being simpler and some fans having already seen Two Sisters.
Without spoiling too much, it's also worth noting that Two Sisters contains supernatural elements while The Uninvited does not, both of which could score points depending on whether you prefer paranormal or realistic horror films.
Two Sisters Wins—Sort of
So, which film is better? Ultimately, Two Sisters performs the scary scenes better and has superior reviews; I agree with most critics in that it's the by-the-numbers higher-quality film. That said, some audiences will prefer Uninvited, whether because they don't want subtitles or because they don't need as much build-up towards the horror.
For preferable directing, scares, and overall caliber, go with Two Sisters. But for casual audiences and modernized stats, try Uninvited. Either way, both are worthy movies, and they're different enough that you'll remain invested (and probably appreciate them more) even if you've previously viewed the other.
© 2020 Jeremy Gill