I was waiting for Sweet Home all year but I had forgotten what the plot was really about so when the release date got near and I reread the synopsis I was really skeptical, "As people turn into monsters" sounded like a recipe for disaster but after a few eps I really started to enjoy it.
Sweet Home turned out to be a really great change in the repetitive scenery of dramaland so that I wanted to write this article about it. Personally, I really like adaptations and I think they're a great way to relive the same story from a different perspective, though I haven't read the webtoon, I feel like they did a great job delivering the essence of the story.
Sweet Home is based on a webtoon with the same name written by Hwang Young Chan and illustrated by Kim Carnby.
"After an unexpected family tragedy, a reclusive high school student is forced to leave his home -- only to face something much scarier: a reality where monsters are trying to wipe out humanity. Now he must fight alongside a handful of reluctant heroes to try and save the world before it’s too late." (Source: fandom)
What sets this apart from the usual dystopian story is that the monsters are a reflection of the human's inner fears and desires. Usually they'd either just be demons from another world or zombies, but Sweet Home did a really intriguing twist that not only made it more captivating but also more humane in some ways.
Reading through the fandom wiki (sadly I've not read the webtoon, yet) it seems like each monster was explored more, though it's not surprising since it lased for 141 chapters as apposed to the 10 eps of the drama.
In most disaster or dystopian stories, writers tend to show the reeaaallly ugly side of humanity by making everyone selfish or stab each other in back in the name of "shocking originality" that they tend to lose real depth and the chance to explore something "more".
In this, things were more than they seemed, people were selfish but there were scarifies and unselfish acts to help each other and with that they achieved a silver lining in an otherwise dark twisted world and that gave them a great balance. (unlike The Mist, or most shows where only the main survives while everyone else is deemed expendable and worthless, kinda like Imawa no Kuni no Alice as well)
Their other point seemed to say that not all monsters were harmful, so in the end the humans were the real monsters killing everything that threatened them and the reason they turn into a harmful monster was that deep down inside the humans themselves were corrupted.
I'll briefly talk about the characters in order of my preference. The best part for me was the layered and well written characters, each one was different and they were all driven by different things but they were also more than just their initial "introduction", each of them had a purpose in the story and I think it's really rare in drama land to see side characters as something more than just time fillers.
Jung Jae Heon (Kim Nam Hee)
Jae Heon was the best part for me, at 1st when I saw him I thought he was just a side character but he was so much more! He was a great sword fighter, his every move was just so captivating to watch, but what was better was his sweet precious personality. He was accepting of everyone and he was so protective, he never hesitated to help others, even if it cost him his life TT__TT in a span of 2 days I was so happy to see a character like that and boom he died the most tragic heroic death ;( I read a little about how he died in the webtoon, and tbh they did a better job in the drama..
Seo Yi Kyung (Lee Shi Young)
Yi Kyung only existed in the drama vr, but she was a really essential core character. She was the character that took action, she wanted answers and she fixed the problems while the rest mostly tried to fight for survival she had her sight on the big picture.
Yoon Ji Su (Park Gyu Young)
Ji Su was yet another proactive character, once she sensed dangerous she took matters into her own hand and never hesitated to help others. She was sweet and understanding, I really loved how she was so "normal" yet still so amazing.
Lee Eun Hyuk (Lee Do Hyun)
Eun Hyuk comes off as selfish, emotionless and cold, but as the series goes on we can see how behind his cool persona he was just trying his best to help everyone to survive. He needed to be calm and calculating so he could make the others feel safe, honestly without him the rest would've turned against each other right away.
Lee Eun Yoo (Go Min Shi)
Eun Yoo was a nonsense type of a character, she called out people on their bs, while they all lived their lives pretending. As the drama goes by they show us more about her background and what made her seem so "pessimistic", but under that tough chick personality she just like the rest was shocked and scared.
Park Yu Ri (Go Yoon Jung)
She was such a little gem, the character were obviously tailor made to survive a dystopian disaster and so she just happened to know how to use a bow, but she was yet another great example a multi layered female character.
Cha Hyun Soo (Song Kang)
It's kinda risky to make their main character the silent type, it took him a while to grow and change and sure that's the point of the drama and it gave a chance for the side characters to shine so I'm not complaining.
Pyeon Sang Wook (Lee Jin Wook)
When we 1st see Sang Wook he just looks like a scary scary gangster, and I don't know if he was really a former detective? that's the downside of making it so short, each character had a flashback but they weren't "enough". Though as the drama goes by we see more of him and he's yet another multi layered character that made this show so entertaining to watch.
There are of course many more important characters, as I mentioned above they really did their best to make each character important and beneficial for the story and that made each death that much more heartbreaking ;(
The scenery and filmography of this was beautiful, they'd be in a middle of a battle but the director didn't fail to make each scene aesthetic.
I actually found the CGI overboard and kinda comical, but well I guess I shouldn't expected anything more. Though I really disliked the audio directing and the excessive blood leaking the most, sound is a delicate matter there's no need for a waterfall sound effect, squishiness or the gum chewing.
Another part of the "visuals" would be the fighting scenes, I loved these 3 scenes the most -plus the ending but I don't want to spoil it, I think that part had the best CGI.
Overall, also as seen from the above gifs, I think one of the best points of this drama was the way they used the female characters as real essential personalities in the story, they were as proactive as the male cast, if not more so. They were people dealing and adapting to the disaster as individuals and not as a weak link or a pretty soft personality that made the men want to protect them, they protect themselves and drama world needs more and more representation of strong, independent and capable women.
Another great point about this drama was that even though it was short-ish 50min per ep with 10 eps in general- it really delivered with the content, each ep was full of entertainment it almost felt like I was watching 3 or more of the usual episodes. So two things dramas need to learn from this; better written plot lines and more female representation ;p
*Gif and picture credits to owners -mostly Netflix- all found around Google, Instagram or Twitter. I made a couple of them too.