Episode 1 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 4/5
Over the past few years, there’s been a whole wave of new Korean dramas stepping away from the conventional tropes and ideas associated with this genre. While these shows may not achieve the same national ratings something like Penthouse, Sky Castle or World Of The Married would, they’re undoubtedly unique and stand out from the crowd.
With a growing international audience hungry for more Asian content, Sweet Home is the latest Netflix foray into the world of horror.
Adapted from the webtoon of the same name, Sweet Home is an action packed fight for survival as humanity finds itself on the brink of extinction. When people suddenly begin to turn into monsters outside, a group of misfit residents inside an apartment complex are forced to work together. Of course, cabin fever, fear and paranoia begin to consume our characters. This is only made worse when a few begin to fall prey to that very same infection they’re trying to keep out.
When the monsters do show up, Sweet Home ramps up the pace and tension to deliver 4 breathless episodes of action back to back. It’s not until the halfway point of the show where we actually stop and learn more about the characters we’ve been following. This serves as a proverbial deep breath, building toward a climactic finale that leaves the door wide open for a second season.
At the heart of this conflict are several key players alongside a medley of supporting characters that hang on for the wild, blood-soaked ride. Reclusive and suicidal Hyun-Soo is the main focus here but he’s joined by the shadowy Sang-Wook, musician Ji-Su, firefighter Ji-Kyung and religious Korean language teacher, Jae-Hun.
There’s a lot more characters here though and unfortunately this large ensemble is one of the big faults with the show. Given how many characters wrestle for screen-time, Sweet Home has little time to distribute out equal amounts of characterisation and growth, forced into slamming on the brakes midway through to flesh out the characters more.
In a way this does allow you to catch your breath after the relentless action but it also feels like something that should have come a lot earlier to understand who all these characters are and what they’re fighting to hold onto.
In fact, this slightly rushed pacing is one of the biggest gripes I have with the show. Something Kingdom or Love Alarm can get away with the shorter run-times, especially given the small cast of characters to work with. The cast here though is almost as big as one of the larger Korean drama projects and given those are usually 75 minutes a pop, that shrunken time-frame is certainly felt.
What Sweet Home lacks in deep characters, it more than makes up for with explicit violence and gore. This is not a show for the squeamish either, with blood literally gushing from orifices and sprayed across faces and walls. Some of these moments are even accompanied by an extreme close up shot too. If you can go in prepared for some pretty gnarling violence, then you should be absolutely fine with this one.
Sweet Home may not be the next hit like Kingdom was but it is a unique slice of the monster-horror pie that’s well worth tucking into. The 10 episodes progress along nicely and if you can be prepared for a cliffhanger ending then Sweet Home delivers a promising and satisfying horror romp. It’s certainly not without its problems but this is another great horror IP that hopefully will sprout some bloodied tendrils and hold on for a second season renewal!