Greetings readers, CuriousCat-13/Tracy Preston here. Hope you all had the happiest of holidays and a fantastic start to the new year (2021 that is). With the beginning of a new year comes new articles. And what better way to start things off than an article about a Korean horror series. What series you ask? Why it’s none other than the new Netflix series Sweet Home, specifically the first episode (in a spoiler-free review). Ever since I found out about the series’s release, I had been counting down the days for when I could finally watch it, now I can.
After watching the first episode, I’ve gotta say, the first episode really knows how to prepare the audience for the ride. While the episode starts off different from how the manhwa does, the rest of the episode does more than enough to make up for it. Generally, when a story in a post-apocalyptic setting starts, (or as far as my experience with these types of stories goes) we get a glance into the lives of the characters that we’ll be following before the world ends up becoming a new level of hell. Looking back at reading the original manhwa, I don’t recall seeing what everyone else’s lives were like. Sure, there were hints dropped during conversations, but it isn’t until those moments, that take place later in the manhwa, that you get some flashbacks (so you barely get to know them at the beginning). In all honesty, it makes me feel at least a bit more attached to the characters than I previously was. During a few scenes, the second I saw a specific character, I could feel the sadness crawling into my heart after remembering their fate. There were also a couple of scenes that faked me out when it came to introducing characters. There was a scene that made me afraid that one of my favorite characters was going to be someone completely different from what she’s like in the manhwa. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case as it was a different character, that I didn’t recognize until she was addressed by her name (not to mention that the show is live-action as opposed to animated).
Other than some of the changes in the order of certain events/scenes (or even how they played out), and the addition of some new scenes, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode. The pacing was consistent, the actors and actresses did an amazing job bringing their characters to life, and the atmosphere was (in my opinion) perfect. While the episode mainly focused on Hyun, a number of the other characters were given enough screen time for the viewers to get a taste of what they’re like. Also, even though the viewers (if they haven’t already read the manhwa) aren’t shown why Hyun is where he is, there are clues sprinkled in to give them ideas as to what happened. At the moment, I haven’t watched the rest of the first season, so I don’t know if his whole backstory has been revealed yet. However, I am looking forward to seeing how they do the full reveal. Speaking of reveals, having previous knowledge of the story, I was on the edge of my seat during the moments that were foreshadowing when and how things were going to go down.
The last thing to bring up, before wrapping things up, is the soundtrack. The opening and ending themes are amazing!! The second I watched and listened to the opening animation, I fell in love. The art style and the way it moves to the music is almost hypnotic, not to mention that both fit perfectly with the story itself. The ending is also special. There isn’t an animation playing with the music. Instead, it mainly consists of a mixture of what I believe are concept art photos and screenshots from different scenes. Given how not all of the major monsters have been shown, it was intriguing to see some of them during the ending “animation.” While I’m not the biggest fan of the genre of music that was chosen, I was still able to at least appreciate the song. Now what completely caught me off guard, was the sudden moment, near the end of the episode, where one of Imagine Dragon’s songs, Warriors, started playing. While I wouldn’t have a song with vocals playing during the specific scene, the lyrics were oddly fitting for the characters and their situation.
All-in-all, the first episode of Sweet Home was able to leave a strong enough impression, not to mention how faithful it is (to a degree) to the original source material. Not only did the actors and actresses do a phenomenal job with bringing their characters to life, but the make-up crew, the people that built the sets, and the cinematography was breathtaking. I can’t remember the last time I watched a Korean production, but there’s just something about the cinematography and overall production that left such a lasting and powerful impression on me. So if any of you are looking for a suspenseful horror series, that takes place in Korea, and you’re not super squeamish when it comes to body horror, I highly recommend checking the series out. Also, please support the original creators and go check out the original manhwa on WEBTOON. They worked their butts off creating this story and they’ve done far more than enough to deserve the attention. They also have two other ongoing webcomics (if you’ve already read Sweet Home) that are available to read on WEBTOON as well (one of which they are collaborating on together called Bastard). If any of you have at least seen the first episode of Sweet Home, please tell me your overall thoughts in the comments below (but please be mindful if you’re bringing up any spoilers). What was your favorite moment and who is your favorite character so far? Until then, this is CuriousCat-13/Tracy Preston: signing off.