The fantasy alley of K-dramaland has always been filled with ghost-busting-spirit-slashing powerful exorcists/shaman. Some are doing it for world peace or at least to maintain peace in the living realm. Some reluctantly do their duty because their ability has been passed down in their family for generations. And Sell Your Haunted House’s Hong Ji-ah (Jang Na-ra) is a combination of both.
From the start, we knew that Ji-ah resents her role as an exorcist. She continues to run Daebak Realty only because she thought her mom’s spirit is tied to that place. So when Ji-ah crosses paths with Oh In-bum (Jung Yong-hwa), she was able to finally start her plans to make her mother’s spirit rest. In-bum is a con person with a powerful psychic ability Ji-ah needs. But of course, In-bum, who at the start only thinks of making money, had to make a deal if he would allow Ji-ah to use his body. Hence, the unlikely partnership of Ji-ah and In-bum was formed. I actually enjoyed watching the first arc of this series because of their initial dynamic. I like how business-y the two are at the start but eventually realized they complemented each other well. Ji-ah is stoic and straightforward most of the time; she’s the type to plan things ahead and follow it to detail while In-bum is all emotions but can easily adapt to the situation. They are not opposites but they are not exactly alike. What bonds them together is that both of them are living in the shadows of their past.
In my First Impression, I already suspected that the death of Ji-ah’s mother has something to do with the death of In-bum’s uncle. So I was really anticipating the reveal for this by the end of the series. The reveal, however, fell a tad bit below my expectation but that doesn’t mean it didn’t deliver the dramatic emotions I expected to get. They dropped this plot reveal when both Ji-ah and In-bum have a clear established friendship/relationship already. The timing is perfect to shake the status quo of the two; raising the tension in the main story. And the main story has always been my reason for watching it from start to finish. It has been consistently built up in each episode through the “clients” they handle.
And whenever I watch fantasies, I do like it when they go to the episodic route. Because aside from being a good plot device to the main story, episodic fictions give me side stories that are often as memorable as the main plot. My favorite client of Daebak Realty would probably be the elderly home in episode 7. Yoo Young-soon’s story is heart-wrenching and heart-warming at the same time. A perfect representation of what kind of stories they tackled each week.
Ji-ah and In-bum didn’t handle these clients and the spirits that haunt them alone. Always with them is their trusted friends Joo Hwa-jung (Kang Mal-geum) and Heo Ji-cheo (Kang Hong-suk). Hwa-jung has always been with Ji-ah. She has taken care of our beloved exorcist and provided for her needs. Even though there were times when she protected her too much (like concealing the truth about her mother’s death), Hwa-jung always has Ji-ah’s happiness in mind. Ji-ah and Hwa-jung are the relatively more “serious” tandem in this series. Providing me with light-hearted comic banter though is In-bum and Ji-cheo. Despite looking like a laidback person, Ji-cheo is actually a very thoughtful companion to In-bum. Also, can I just add that Ji-cheo and Bae Soo-jung (Ji Woo) are a cute couple!
Speaking of couples and romances, I was surprised they didn’t develop the romance between Ji-ah and In-bum. But I wasn’t disappointed about it. I’m satisfied with the non-romantic status quo they have and maintained up to the last episode. I like that they care enough to save each other’s life even if that meant putting their life on the line too. I think that’s better than any other ‘I love you’s’ in K-dramaland.
Their relationship also made the action sequences in the series exciting to watch. Because I know that both wouldn’t allow if one of them gets hurt. It adds to the tension of those action sequences. It was more evident in the last two episodes. Although Do Hak-sung (Ahn Kil-kang) felt flat for a finale arc antagonist, he and Ji-ah’s face-off is one battle to remember. I was on the edge of my seat even though I know already how this one would end.
Well overall, Sell Your Haunted House is pretty predictable because the elements in it are a rehash of other stories I’ve watched in K-dramas but they somehow make things more unique. Jang Nara aptly carried the whole series with her believable performance as Hong Ji-ah. She’s stoic most of the time but when it comes to dramatic scenes, she showed what kind of a seasoned actress she is. Meanwhile, Jung Yong-hwa delivered with equally good performance. I think I’m the only one in my squad who isn’t a Yong-hwa bias but he took my heart as In-bum in this series. He fits the role of the somewhat obnoxious yet thoughtful male lead. He is a perfect partner to a strong and selfless female lead.
If one is looking for a good K-drama with consistent storytelling from start to finish, Sell Your Haunted House will credibly give you that.
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