Sweet Home is a Korean horror webcomic that's gotten a live-action Netflix adaptation. The TV series is getting a lot of buzz and memes on the internet, which is a mark of its success. There's a reason it got a Netflix TV adaptation. The 143-chapter comic has 1.2 billion views on Webtoon, and more than that number has read it by now.
A depressed teenager moves into a rundown apartment building alone after a family tragedy to shut himself away. The place is miserable. The walls are so thin he can hear his neighbours next to and above him. Hyun Cha just wants to be left alone to watch TV, eat junk food, and play video games. Then some of his neighbours start going a bit weird. It starts with mysterious nosebleeds. Knocks on the door. Something not quite human wants him to let her in. And things just go downhill from there. Soon, demonic creatures start stalking the halls of the building. They can't be killed. They want to kill. Hyun Cha has to overcome his own fears and antisocial tendencies to team up with the other residents to
Carnby Kim and Youngchan Hwang are experts at using the webcomic scroll-down format to create a pace for suspense, which works great for horror stories. The monsters are weird and surreal, offering an alternate take from the usual zombies, a new take on the "monster is us" theme. The monsters are all meme-worthy, which is a mark of success these days. The story cobbles elements from horror movies and survival horror video games in a very Korean mix of craziness and high emotionality. Sweet Home may have launched back in 2018 but reading it now in the context of lockdown in a pandemic feels entirely of the moment. A bunch of scared, paranoid people, some of them infected, trapped in an apartment building and fighting demons, and each other could not be more 2020.
At the heart of the story is a hero finding a reason to live. Many Asian comics, be it Korean or Japanese, have a common theme about depression, finding empathy, and finding friends to protect. Sweet Home is no different. The whole story is an apocalyptic allegory – because a Korean or Japanese horror story just has to be apocalyptic and epic – for facing personal demons, including becoming one's own demon and coming out the other side. No wonder this series got a live-action Netflix TV series.
Sweet Home is now on WEBTOON, on browsers, iOS, and Android apps.