Critics’ Corner: TV Review

Sweet Home

Critics Corner: TV Review

Ellie O’Sullivan, Editor-In-Chief, Junior

Sweet Home, released December 18, is a Netflix original based off of its namesake online comic found on Webtoon. The comic and show, while they do share some similar plot elements, diverge at places which is to be expected from such an adaptation. This was not an issue for me as I only read about half of the comic itself, however, there seems to be little outrage about the adaptation online, which is an uncommon occurrence. Often when a movie or show is adapted from a comic, the original readers will scrutinize every artistic diversion the new media makes; however, there seems to be much less backlash than expected, going to show that the production did a good enough job at adapting while also making a new beloved series. 

Being that the show was shot in South Korea, the language in which it was recorded was Korean –  however, there are subtitles and other dubs in one’s desired language. I personally recommend watching it in its original language as the acting is quite impressive and is not done much justice in dubs. Sweet Home is an apocalyptic horror show, one of my personal favorite genres, but if you are someone who is squeamish about blood, gore, or generally gross things, I would find something else to watch. You might think “Ugh, there are already so many apocalypse horror shows, how come we need another one?” This is a fair point – there’s no denying that the genre is oversaturated with predictable, boring, and sometimes downright bad shows. However, Sweet Home proves to be a uniquely written, directed, and performed show that is unlike anything that I’ve ever watched.

It’s hard to say that there is a single main character, but the character whose story is focused on the most is Cha Hyun-soo, a suicidal 19 year old who recently lost all members of his family to a car accident. In order to deal with the financial loss, he has to move into the ‘Green Home’, a cheap housing complex. Only a few days into his residency, the world is thrown into sudden chaos as a seeming ‘curse’ befalls humans in which their deepest desires turn them into terrifying monsters. This is not all at once, symptoms of turning into a monster appear before hand, such as fainting, visual hallucinations, but most importantly, severe bloody noses. It may just be my personal opinion, but I thougth the imagery of bloody noses allowed for the creative direction to shine through in many ways. There are many gripping scenes that utilize this aspect of the plot well (on a separate note, I have no clue how they got the bloody nose effect to come off on camera. It looks so good). 

Hyun-soo’s character poses an interesting aspect to the story. As mentioned before, he is a heavily depressed, orphaned teenager who is known to struggle with suicidal thoughts. In one of the first scenes in the show he is shown questioning jumping from his apartment building. Come the end of the world, however, there’s a sudden shift in his values. He needs to live, more than that he wants to. He becomes a paradox unto himself. He’s not the only character who has many layers of personality and motive. Together, each of the characters create a cohesive environment where they all survive longer than anybody would have expected. Not that anyone asked, but my favorite character Lee Eun-hyuk. He acts as the leader of the rag-tag group of survivors and is the one who is responsible for making the most difficult decisions with a rational and level headed mind. Other notable characters include: Eun-hyuk’s little sister, Eun-yoo, former ballerina who’s rough and rude to almost everyone, but still lovable in my eyes, Sang-wook, a mysterious man who doesn’t seem to understand that two wrongs don’t make a right, and Si-young, your ‘run-of-the-mill’ badass lady left with a broken heart after her fiance’s disappearance.

Overall, I really enjoyed this show. Keep in mind that I had only read a few of the comics, so it’s not like I was walking in with a predetermined opinion either. I thought the artistic direction was remarkable and that the acting was generally very good. There’s not too much to complain about when it comes to this show. For the most part the score was good too, but I would have to point out that Imagine Dragons is not the ideal band to listen to when beating up monsters, even if only one of their songs was played (if you like Imagine Dragons, I mean no offense, but like, really?). The CGI was hit or miss at times, but it didn’t really bother me too much as there wasn’t ever really an instance where I was like, “wow, that looked awful”. I must reiterate, if you don’t like gore or blood, I would steer clear of this show. But if you like an enjoyable and sometimes spooky viewing experience, the ten-ish hours that it takes to watch this show will be time well spent.