Webtoon favorite Sweet Home comes to Netflix

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The online comic hub Naver Webtoon and Korean dramas have both risen in popularity worldwide, so it is no surprise that they have been meshed together. Many popular Korean Webtoons have become dramas, including Sweet Home, a horror comic created by Kim Carnby (Carnby Kim) and Hwang Young-chan (Young-chan Hwang). Sweet Home was launched on Naver Webtoon on October 12, 2017, and the storyline concluded on July 2, 2020, with 140 chapters. In November of 2020, Netflix announced that they would release a Korean drama based on Sweet Home on December 18, 2020. The drama was developed by Studio Dragon, a Korean drama production company that also created other dramas based on Korean comics.  Sweet Home starred up-and-coming actors Song Kang (Love Alarm) and Lee Do-hyun (18 Again), as well as well-known actor Lee Jin-wook (Goodbye Mr. Black) and actress Lee Si-young (Boys Over Flowers). 

Both the K-drama and comic begin by introducing us to Cha Hyun-su (Song Kang), a high school student who moves into a new apartment building after his family dies in a car accident. He is a depressed recluse but finds the motivation to live by protecting his new neighbors after the sudden appearance of monsters in and outside the building. Hyun-su and the remaining residents of the apartment building must try to survive the monsters and other dangers lurking outside the building.

Although the drama doesn’t follow the Webtoon verbatim, it still manages to be enjoyable to watch. “The show itself is good but when compared to the Webtoon there were some changes I wasn’t too interested in. For one, the main character was emotionless and stoic throughout the show and we saw little to no improvement as it progresses,” said sophomore Adeola Adeyinka. She adds that “the horror aspect was definitely there but not potent as in the Webtoon, the monsters were grotesque but the buildup was what made the encounters so anticipating.” Junior Linda Shi agreed that the horror aspect of the show left much to be desired. “The show is interesting but I sort of expected more for a horror-themed drama,” she said. Despite certain disappointments in the adaptation, the drama was able to develop an interesting theme of morality. As the characters made decisions about their own survival, they were constantly in conflict with their moral compasses, judging whether their actions benefited only themselves or the rest of the residents.

The actors’ performances also provided a plethora of different personalities that stood out and true to the situation they were in. The special effects, while tacky at times, were mostly well-executed and impressive with the use of Computer Graphic Imaging (CGI). Additionally, the repetitive use of the song “Warriors” by Imagine Dragons was a bit banal but did its job by clearly conveying the adrenaline-filled action scenes. Overall, the ending of the first season of Sweet Home left viewers puzzled and looking for answers. Junior Alexandra Yick says, “I’m hoping for a second season soon since the ending was pretty open-ended.”

While the initial reactions and reviews to Sweet Home can be divisive, it’s still an enjoyable experience and very popular among many horror and thriller fans. Within the first four weeks of its release on Netflix, Sweet Home was viewed by more than 20 million viewers, and rated at a high 4.8 out of 5.  In addition to Sweet Home, there are many other Webtoons and Korean dramas that might appeal to horror fans worldwide. One example is Bastard, another horror Webtoon. This comic tells the story of Seon-u Jin, the son of a CEO who has a dark past and a terrifying pastime. Junior Omar Hussain recommends Bastard, noting that it was also “made by the same authors of Sweet Home.” The Korean drama The Uncanny Counter is also based off of a Webtoon and, like Sweet Home, deals with the supernatural. However, unlike Sweet Home, Uncanny Counter contains comedy to balance out the gore. If gore is not your thing, It’s Okay to Not Be Okay is a great show to watch. It touches on topics such as mental health and trauma while balancing tension and frightening animation with small scenes of lighthearted banter between the main characters.  If you are interested in watching a show that delves deep into dark topics, builds anticipation and adrenaline with background music, and features macabre scenes with amazing special effects, Sweet Home is right down your alley.