‘Sweet Home’ Review (2020): When Monsters Are Man’s Saviors

‘Sweet Home’ Review (2020): When Monsters Are Man’s Saviors. Many reasons make this SWEET HOME I look forward to since 2020. However, when asked to choose, two main reasons are the strongest. First, I am a reader of the Sweet Home webtoon, so I am very curious about how the monsters will be portrayed in the live-action version. Second, because this is directed by Lee Eung Bok.

If you are a drama maniac like me, the name of director Eung Bok is not foreign. From his hands, there are many successful mega-hit dramas produced. There are at least five popular titles directed by Eung Bok and I have watched such as DREAM HIGH (2011), SECRET LOVE (2013), DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN (2016), MR.SUNSHINE (2018) and of course GOBLIN (2016).

So when Netflix announced that it would release 10 live episodes for SWEET HOME globally on December 18, 2020, I immediately watched a marathon. It only takes at least two days to complete episodes 1-10, and even then it has been paused with various daily activities.

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‘SWEET HOME’ Review (2020): When Monsters Are Man’s Saviors
Posted by Arai Amelya January 04, 2021, 38 comments
Sweet Home review
Starting 2021, my first post on the blog will be about the SWEET HOME review. Of the many rows of (Korean dramas) that were released throughout 2020, SWEET HOME is indeed the one I am most looking forward to besides KINGDOM: SEASON 2.

There are so many reasons that I have been waiting for this SWEET HOME since 2020. However, when asked to choose, two main reasons are the strongest. First, I am a reader of the Sweet Home webtoon, so I am very curious about how the monsters will be portrayed in the live-action version. Second, because this is directed by Lee Eung Bok.

If you are a drama maniac like me, the name of director Eung Bok is not foreign. From his hands, there are many successful mega-hit dramas produced. There are at least five popular titles directed by Eung Bok and I have watched such as DREAM HIGH (2011), SECRET LOVE (2013), DESCENDANTS OF THE SUN (2016), MR.SUNSHINE (2018) and of course GOBLIN (2016).

So when Netflix announced that it would release 10 live episodes for SWEET HOME globally on December 18, 2020, I immediately watched a marathon. It only takes at least two days to complete episodes 1-10, and even then it has been paused with various daily activities.

The result? SWEET HOME is the most favorite and best Korean drama in my opinion in 2020. Sorry, ITAEWON CLASS, you have to be willing to withdraw to second place.

Sweet Home

Synopsis Sweet Home

The story in the SWEET HOME drama focuses on a high school teenager who likes to play online games named Cha Hyun Soo (Song Kang), who moves into the Green Home apartment after the death of his parents and sister in a car accident. Left alone, Hyun Soo is lazy to look to the future and plans to commit suicide. Not to mention the trauma of being bullied in high school makes Hyun Soo have no desire for anything.

One afternoon when he was about to try to jump off the roof of the apartment, Hyun Soo met Lee Eun Yu (Go Min Si), an ignorant and stubborn girl who dreams of becoming a ballet. Choosing not to hang out with other apartment residents, Hyun Soo’s life changes one night when the residents of the apartment next door make a fuss and turn into a bloodthirsty monster.

Since then, Hyun Soo’s secretive life has changed. The apartment where he would commit suicide became the place where he wanted to live, day after day. Hyun Soo fights with all the remaining residents of Green Home to fight the monsters.

He meets a former detective who is good at fighting with burn scars named Pyeon Sang Wook (Lee Jin Wook), former firefighter Seo Yi Kyung (Lee Si Young), brave indie musician Yoon Ji Su (Park Gyu Young), a devout teacher. Christian is obedient and good at the sword Jung Jae Heon (Kim Nam Hee), a disabled man who is good at making weapons Han Du Sik (Kim Sang-Ho) and of course a very intelligent and realistic former medical student and Eun Yu’s older brother, Lee Eun Hyuk (Lee Do Hyun). ).

Problems start to arise because it turns out that Hyun Soo is one of the humans who has been infected into a monster, making other Green Home residents refuse his presence. With various conflicts present and the terrible monsters, Hyun Soo must choose, whether he must stand by the side of humans or the monster within him to survive.

Plot and Character

If as a drama viewer I am extremely satisfied with SWEET HOME, how will I respond as a webtoon reader?

Of course, there are disappointments that I can not avoid.

The first disappointment emerged from Ji Su’s figure. If you read the webtoon, Ji Su should be Hyun Soo’s love interest and have a very crucial role in Hyun Soo’s life. Even the title of SWEET HOME is a song composed by Ji Su through his guitar strum that reminds Hyun Soo of his family. Hyun Soo has been captivated by Ji Su from the start because he is similar to the figure of Maria in the animated film MARIA FROM THE SKY which he likes. But in the drama version, Hyun Soo and Ji Su’s interaction is not too deep.

The trio of scriptwriters Heung So Ri, Kim Hyung Min, and Park So Ri chose Eun Yu to be close to Hyun Soo. Eun Yu’s figure who was so annoying at the beginning was what accompanied Hyun Soo’s dark days and was always traumatized. Eun Yu also seems to understand Hyun Soo the most and even secretly invites him to promise to survive. It’s surprising because, in the webtoon, Eun Yu looks much younger than Hyun Soo.

Then the next disappointment also emerged from the pathetic fate of Sang Wook and Park Yu Ri (Ko Yoon Jung) who had to die at the hands of Jung Ui Myeong (Kim Sung Cheol). Whereas in the webtoon, Sang Wook and Yu Ri can survive. Ui Myeong is a special infected figure like Hyun Soo who escaped from a government laboratory. In the webtoon, Sang Wook and Yu Ri survive and live in a refugee camp with Ji Su and Eun Yu.

Ui Myeong’s character is not in the webtoon, just like Yi Kyung. However, both Ui Myeong and Yi Kyung can complete the plot in the SWEET HOME drama so that it is stronger and more modern. Who is not amazed by Yi Kyung’s sexy muscular body as he runs through the airways to save himself from being chased by the spider monster? Yi Kyung is the most favorite heroine in SWEET HOME.

Plot and character changes also occur in the evil mafia group pretending to be soldiers, who attack the residents of Green Home in the final episodes. In the webtoon, they are just criminals who have escaped from prison. If the strongest monster that Hyun Soo faces in the webtoon is Joon Shin the criminal leader, in the Netflix version of the series, he faces Ui Myeong, a member of the fake army who is manipulative, cunning, and can switch hosts.

The development of a quite different character also appears from Sang Wook. Sang Wook in the webtoon is much more friendly. While the drama version of Sang Wook looks so serious and terrible, not to mention his background as a former detective who is hunting for Yoon Jae, the sexual predator, makes him like a serial killer.

Review Sweet Home

The first thing that comes to my mind when SWEET HOME is finished watching is an extraordinary and spectacular satisfaction. Eung Bok who hooked Studio Dragon managed to visualize the monsters quite perfectly. Not surprisingly, Netflix’s budget has reached US$27 million (around Rp. 380 billion) or an average of Rp. 38 billion per episode.
SWEET HOME’s budget is even bigger than Netflix’s previous most expensive drama, ARTHDAL CHRONICLES (2019) which touched IDR 28.5 billion per episode. No wonder the graphic display with the latest CGI effects inanimate monsters, looks real. I’m even horrified by the figure of a tongue monster, a blind monster to a protein monster that doesn’t look funny at all like in the webtoon.

Praise deserves to be given to Song Kang who is so suitable to be Hyun Soo. Honestly, I was very captivated when he appeared with that pair of horrible black eyes. Just made his acting debut in 2017, the 26-year-old actor has successfully transformed from a sweet female idol character to an antisocial figure who harbors a monster inside of him.

Green Home residents who are annoying and think about themselves can also be present perfectly through Kim Seok Hyeon (Woo Hyeon), Choi Yoon Jae (Ko Gun Han), An Seon Yeong (Kim Hyun), Cha Jin ok (Kim Hee Jung), Ryu Jae Hwan (Lee Joon Woo), Kang Seung Wan (Woo Jung Kook), Son Hye In (Kim Guk Hee) and No Byeong Il (I’m Su Hyung).

The entire cast involved can describe how the fate of humans is when they are on the edge and of course stirs the emotions of the audience.
But actually, three other casts stole my attention besides Song Kang in SWEET HOME namely Si Young, Jin Wook, and Do Hyun.

I previously only knew Si Young as Oh Min Ji, Geum Jan Di’s annoying friend who liked Goo Jun Pyo in BOYS BEFORE FLOWERS (2009). But in SWEET HOME, Si Young is surprisingly perfect as Yi Kyung who is firm, brave and muscular, a charming badass female.

Secondly, there is Jin Wook whose acting skills have captivated me since VOICE 2 (2018) and VOICE 3 (2019). Playing the role of Sang Wook who looks fierce on the outside but full of justice in his heart, Jin Wook made me pretty sure that he was never afraid of monsters.

Then finally there is Do Hyun who stole hearts at HOTEL DEL LUNA (2019) and 18 AGAIN (2020). His acting skills seem to be quite developed when he turns on the figure of Eun Hyuk who is so logical, intelligent, uncompromising but loves his sister so much.

From a cinematographic point of view, Eung Bok can present the atmosphere in an apartment full of monsters that are so tense and the color tones tend to be dark. Even when the monsters were present, the atmosphere of horror was slowly awakening. Assisted with the right sound editing, Imagine Dragons’ Warrior song feels so perfect that it wraps the hero side and the monster side in every human being.

It’s no wonder that SWEET HOME has finally become a global success. Less than a month since its release, SWEET HOME has already recorded more than 1.2 billion views. There are at least 11 countries that report SWEET HOME as the most-watched Netflix series. The United States public was captivated and chose SWEET HOME in the top three positions.

SWEET HOME proves that the South Korean entertainment industry is indeed very creative. Not only in terms of visuals but the depth of the story and the characters that are built can also be said to be parallel to what Hollywood blockbuster filmmakers have created.

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