The Korean TV series Sweet Home is a real godsend for those who love apocalyptic stories in which the heroes have to fight monsters and adapt to a new reality that completely changes social orders. The series has just ten episodes to watch on Netflix, and it could have a promising sequel.
Genre: Thriller, fantasy, horror
Creator: Lee Eun Bok
Cast: Song Kang (Cha Hyun Soo), Lee Jin Wook (bandit), Lee Si Young (firefighter), Lee Do Hyun (leader), Go Min Xi (ballerina), Park Kyu Young (guitarist), Kim Sang Ho (veteran inventor ), Woo Hyun (store owner), etc.
Year of issue: 2020
Over the past few years, there has been a trend in Korea to film popular webtoons (online comics), turning them into TV series. In most cases, these are stories with a comedy-romantic plot dedicated to developing the relationship of one couple. In fairness, it should be said that among the adaptations, you can find other genres: psychological thriller (the dark series Hell Is Other People) and science fiction (sixteen-episode action Rugal).
Now they have added the fantasy thriller Sweet Home, based on the Sweet Home webtoon by Kim Khan Bi. This is a rather multifaceted story that unfolds gradually, posing as another horror about creatures ruthlessly killing people in a confined space.
The first impression of the series can be very repulsive since the atmosphere in it is rather painful. The monsters that show up in the first episodes are far from the best embodiment of computer graphics. But it is worth overcoming skepticism about visual effects (after all, the budgets here are not Hollywood) and give a second chance to the main characters, who with each episode will reveal themselves more and more interestingly, not limited to monotonous games of hiding and seek to save lives.
The series begins with a young boy named Cha Hyun Soo moving into an apartment complex in a disadvantaged neighborhood. Although residents of different social statuses settle here, in general, the living conditions for an ordinary tenant leave much to be desired – conversations and other extraneous sounds are heard through the walls. True, Cha Hyun Soo does not give a damn about what is happening. The guy is a social phobia who spends all day at the computer and plans the date of suicide. Despite his aloofness, even he notices that something strange is happening in the house. And when Cha Hyun Soo goes outside his room, the hero, like his neighbors, encounters monsters surrounding people from all sides.
Sweet Home is one series whose heroes are forced to rally to increase their survival chances. However, a company gathered under one roof is barely suited to show unity and support. Residents of the house suspect that there is a killer among them. Moreover, many do not agree to show sacrifice and obey the new laws. Moreover, in a situation where the heroes are faced with previously unprecedented horror, many break down and show the worst qualities.
By the way, about the manifestations of the worst. All monsters from the series are people who, for reasons unknown to the characters, begin to turn into dangerous predators. Each of the monsters embodies one quality that once prevailed in a person. This is how Sweet Home has many monstrous creatures attacking locals in different ways, and this is a lot of space for visual variety, which is not usually found in horror stories about zombies.
Alas, due to imperfect special effects, sometimes reminiscent of the visuals of computer games (and in some places repeating the graphics of Stranger Things), the series fails to create the atmosphere of a full-fledged thriller, turning into horror. However, this is the case when you can easily do without zealous intimidation. There are still more valuable moments in the plot of the series.
These are episodes that gradually reveal the heroes’ essence changing their behavior under the pressure of stress. Sweet Home has a fairly large cast. Surprisingly, with so many people, many characters have the opportunity to express themselves and turn to events from the past that greatly influenced them. Many interesting details appear in the plot with full-fledged backstories that help to recognize the reasons for the characters’ eccentric behavior. This is how strangers recognize each other and make compromises, which would be completely impossible if the monsters did not trap them.
When it seems that the series is becoming monotonous, the script changes direction, bringing up the topic of who can actually be more dangerous – monsters or ordinary people who have power over others. In addition to the rich plot twists, in this vein, we learn about the details of Cha Hyun Soo’s life, who in the new reality becomes the central figure – the protagonist, ironically no longer thirsting for death, but opposing it.
For ten episodes in “Sweet Home,” there are many incidents, and they all hold attention until the very end (the finale, by the way, quite openly hints at the second season). Due to many events, some inconsistencies are not complete, but they are rather insignificant and do not affect the overall story. What’s good, the creators of the series preserve the local atmosphere of life, not trying to copy American horror in everything, and give up only on the choice of music (Imagine Dragons sounds a little out of place here, which cannot be said about other songs from the official Korean soundtrack). Also, the gloomy apocalyptic picture of a deserted city seems successful, in which quite merciless and bloody episodes occur, after which the heroes change noticeably.