“Sweet Home”, a Monstrous Good Time

Following in the footsteps of other Korean breakout successes such as “Train to Busan” by director Yeon Sang-ho and “Parasite” by director Bong Joon-ho, Netflix’s “Sweet Home” television series is a delight for horror fans. Perhaps the most enticing part of “Sweet Home” is the isolated setting of the Green Room Apartment complex, a run down building inhabited by a diverse range of characters forced to survive and cooperate or be food for the Monsters that now reside in the ruins of society. In this way the show is very similar to “Train to Busan”, as the differing viewpoints of multiple people clash against the backdrop of a truly terrifying apocalypse.
Unlike “Train to Busan”, there are no zombies to speak of. Instead, South Korea (and presumably the rest of the world) is overrun by hyper resilient cannibals sporting a large diversity of supernatural abilities. These beasts have tested humanity’s capabilities far more than anything a horde of zombies or nuclear crisis could do, as the average monster can easily best multiple humans with energy left to spare. “Monsterfication” does not spread like your average Hollywood zombie infection, no need to worry about bites or blood contamination. Instead, the curse preys upon human desires, twisting the desires of humanity to despicable and grotesque extremes with abilities to match the prime desire of the cursed human. Ranging from super-strength to spider-like agility to actually being a super-strong spider-like monster, creative monster designs are another real selling point of the series.  The different abilities of the various monsters allows for incredibly interesting set-piece scenes revolving around the main characters exploiting weaknesses of the particular monster that they must evade or expel from the building.
The show stars Song Kang as Cha Hyun-So, a suicidal highschool dropout and shut-in that had already given up on being alive before the show’s beginning. Cha Hyun-So is a great character that separates himself from many other “loner” protagonists in that he is constantly shown to really care for those around him. While Cha Hyun-So has a dark past, the fact that he is able to empathize with others and will often work with the group in order instead of lamenting the unfair hand he’s been dealt is a refreshing departure from the popular archetype that he’s based on. The supporting cast shines equally, and there are several Korean character mainstays such as Lee Jin-wook as Pyeon Sang-wook, your average tough guy with a heart of gold, though his heart may be more of a silver than a full gold. Also making an appearance in Lee Do-hyun as Lee Eun-hyuk, the cold and calculating leader of the residents of the complex.
With a single ten episode season, “Sweet Home” is an intriguing take on the average zombie apocalypse series, with an interesting cast of characters and even more intriguing band of villainous monsters. Episodes range from forty-five to fifty minutes making a show which is either easily binged in a few nights or savored throughout a week. If you liked “Train to Busan” or “#Alive”, then you might feel at home while watching “Sweet Home”.

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