“The reunion of two sisters after one of them has just been released from a mental institution is marred when a stay at their abandoned childhood home threatens to reveal a dark family secret.”
Two Sisters is the type of horror film that shows its audience how the art of subtlety can create the most intense atmosphere when done the correct way. Directed by James Lee and released by Kuman Pictures, Two Sisters is a psychological horror that threatens to open the deepest of wounds between childhood trauma and tensions between siblings. The director’s brilliant use of a drama filled story line that successfully manages to hold unto its ultimate twist reveal until the last sequence of the film, but yet drop very subtle hints just to see if the audience is actually paying attention is phenomenal.
The film begins with Mei Xi (Emily Lim) who is the elder sister that has just successfully published her first novel. She is informed by the family’s lawyer that her sister Mei Yue (Lim Mei Fan) is about to be discharged from the mental hospital as she has shown drastic improvement. There is a visible strain on their relationship as the elder sister was either too wrapped in the publication of her first novel to visit Mei Yue or just chose to avoid that part of her life all together until she was forced to face it with the release of her younger sister.
The intensity builds and builds especially when the location is focused upon the abandoned mansion that was once their childhood home. The large house has a naturally dark and creepy presence by having all the furniture covered in stark white sheets while ghostly figures loom threateningly in the background just at the edge of the viewers’ line of sight. Not to mention the use of the absence of light in the home gives a generally black melancholic tone to the environment, as well as a deep sense of foreboding that something just isn’t right. The fact that anything can be lurking around a sharp corner or disguised as a piece of covered furniture makes the heart pump faster with anticipation. The jump scares were not only perfectly timed, but I particularly enjoyed the lack of the over excessive blood and gore that tends to be the cinematic go to for most modern-day horror films.
While some may find issues with the slow pacing, I think that in this case the slower build is actually better for the concept of the story overall. The psychological tilt to the plot is also an interesting angle because it forces the audience to question if what they are seeing is real or if it is the crazed hallucinations of a mentally unstable young woman. The dynamic between the sisters shifts drastically when a room that was kept locked up for many years after their mother’s death was finally opened. It symbolized the beginning of the revelation of a dark secret that was locked away in the recesses of the mind. Trauma is always pushed to the back of one’s mind until it is forced out and the consequences of doing this are either suffering from the dangers of a broken psyche or finding the strength to overcome it.
The conclusion of the film may not bring about the closure or peace of mind that you would be expecting once the dark secret has been expunged. It actually delves into quite tragic circumstances that leaves behind a wound so deep that it can never be healed. This is the true terror in becoming trapped inside a broken mind, having lost all hope of redemption and the people responsible for your screwed up mind would never be held accountable for their actions. This is definitely the type of psychological horror that keeps you thinking long afterwards.
If you like twisty, mind bending, drama filled horrors then you are going to have to check out James Lee’s Two Sisters. In addition, you can find some of his short films on his YouTube channel.