Edited by Yang Young Jun
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
Sweet Home, which was released on Netflix last month, is receiving explosive responses. Apart from its popularity, however, the drama is getting two opposite reactions. Why on earth do viewers react so differently to the project?
Sweet Home, based on the webtoon of the same name, tells a bizarre and shocking story that a loner high school student Hyun Soo experiences in an apartment where he moved after losing his family. Hyun Soo, who decided to commit suicide, finds himself in a situation where he has to fight off the unidentified monsters that suddenly appear in his apartment along with other residents.
Like most recent dramas, Sweet Home also chooses to unfold its story quite speedily. But this choice showed more loss than gain, mostly because the result of jamming 140 episodes of webtoon into one-hour 10-part drama forced inevitable omission and changes in the plot. And the most noticeable of them is the reduced volume of characters’ storytelling and the monsters.
First, I clearly state that what I’m about to say doesn’t mean “not attractive” characters. All cast members, including Song Kang, Lee Si Young, Lee Jin Wook, Lee Do Hyun, Go Min Si, Park Gyu Young and Kim Nam Hee, breathe life into their characters, and thanks to their efforts, each and every character leaves a deep impression. Especially, watching Lee Si Young blending in so well with others despite the fact that she’s playing a newly-added character Seo Yi Kyung impresses you as it proves how much effort the actress has put into the work.
The problem lies in the fact that the charm of each character heavily relies on the actors. I understand that it is practically impossible to unravel all the stories because there are many key figures, and I also know that the director tried his best to encompass the narrative. And yet, the hokey plot leads to crude psychological description, which often makes it difficult for us to understand “why” characters “react” in such ways. Furthermore, the proportion of some characters decreased, changes have been made into the overall setting, and the psychological warfare in the process of “monsterization” is omitted. As a big fan of the original webtoon, this is a big letdown.
Monsters’ smaller role in the drama is another regret. Like director Lee Eung Bok’s wish to deal more with humans’ stories rather than the monsters, Sweet Home circles around the “creature horror” and “human drama” genres. The stories derived from intertwined relationships are undoubtedly intriguing, but those who expected a cutthroat battle against the monsters will have been disappointed.
You can’t also leave out the story of the OST that many showed dissatisfaction over. Imagine Dragons’ “Warriors” was the perfect choice for Jung Jae Heon, and BewhY’s “Side by Side” perfectly harmonizes with the ending credit. You can say that the selection itself was flawless. However, good songs popping out of nowhere in inappropriate situations only prevent people from getting immersed.
Nevertheless, the reason why we have to wait for the next season is the possibility of expansion of the worldview. Maybe, the residents will be going up against more monsters after escaping the apartment with the help (?) of the army, or their partnership or conflict with other survivors may be the next essential story. Considering these points, opting for a different path from the original work from the middle and telling a whole new story in the second half might have been the production team’s superb choice. As the first season succeeded in weaving various narratives excitingly, the expectations for the second season naturally have risen.
As clear as the merits, there were definite letdowns. However, how Sweet Home auspiciously proved “Korea also can do it” despite it being the country’s first-ever creature drama makes us look forward to an expansion in the K-creature genre. Wouldn’t it be possible to turn the hearts of viewers who expressed regret if they improve the weaknesses? It’s a crime not to produce the next season after this.
Verdict: Possibility of the K-creature genre that will captivate the world following K-zombie (6.5/10)