In Sweet Curse, the main character Ha-jun is haunted by a ghost.

Sweet Curse is a short Korean BL horror movie. A bewitching spell is placed upon the gay protagonist, who becomes terrorized by a ghost. Every night, he is haunted by bizarre circumstances and strange erotic dreams that intensify dramatically.

Despite its intriguing premise, Sweet Curse suffers from a convoluted story with no satisfying payoff. The narrative feels lost, lacking clarity, coherence, or any emotional impact. Even the provocative nudity cannot save this short movie from being a disappointment.

Sweet Curse Summary

What is the movie called?

달콤한 저주

Where was the film made?

South Korea

When was the movie released?

2021

How long is Sweet Curse?

Around 30 minutes

What is the genre?

Horror

How would you describe the film?

Dark and disturbing

Who is the director?

Kang Woo

Is Sweet Curse BL?

Yes, it’s an explicit BL film.

Plot

Ha-jun lights a candle in his dark apartment.

Ha-jun is a popular and highly desirable gay man, beloved by his circle of friends. His companions constantly shower him with praise and flattery. Even though they all agree he’s a catch, Ha-jun remains single and lives alone.

One evening, Ha-jun hangs out with his friends at a gay bar. They jokingly play around with a magical spell, channelling spirits to tell their romantic fortunes. Although the spell was never completed, strange circumstances begin happening to Ha-jun after that night.

At first, Ha-jun was haunted by an erotic nightmare involving a passionate encounter between him and a mysterious stranger. The following night, he notices furniture pieces moving by themselves and detects a ghostly presence in his apartment unit. Ha-jun is tormented by these recurring paranormal oddities, which cause him to lose sleep.

Ha-jun tells his friends about what has been happening to him. Most don’t believe him, laughing off his concerns. Only his friend Min-joo appears sympathetic, willing to give Ha-jun the benefit of the doubt. Ha-jun is thankful for the support, as Min-woo comforts him and vows to solve the mystery.

Sweet Curse Trailer

Sweet Curse Cast

Characters

Ha-jun Bang Ji Hyun (방지현) Bang Ji Hyun Instagram

Ha-jun is portrayed by the Korean actor Bang Ji Hyun (방지현).

Ha-jun is a single gay man who lives alone in an apartment. He is popular with his friends, who constantly praise his attractiveness. Ha-jun becomes troubled by the paranormal activities that haunt him every night.

Min-woo Kim Seong Soo (김성수) Kim Seong Soo Instagram

Min-woo is portrayed by the actor Kim Seong Soo (김성수).

Min-woo is one of Ha-jun’s friends who hangs out with him at the gay bar. He is the only one to believe that Ha-jun has been haunted by a ghost. Min-woo and Ha-jun attend a yoga class together.

Ghost Sung Yeon Ho (성연호) Sung Yeon Ho Instagram

The ghost in Sweet Curse is portrayed by Sung Yeon Ho (성연호).

Ha-jun is haunted by this mysterious ghost, who inexplicably appears in his apartment every night. The ghost first appears in an erotic dream. However, he also starts manifesting in reality, causing torment around Ha-jun’s surroundings.

Supporting Cast

The bar owner is portrayed by Lee Won Hee (이원희).

Bar owner

Lee Won Hee (이원희)

One of Ha-jun's friends is portrayed by Bae Ji Hoon (배지훈).

Friend #1

Bae Ji Hoon (배지훈)

One of Ha-jun's friends is portrayed by Lee Joon Young (이준영).

Friend #2

Lee Joon Young (이준영)

One of Ha-jun's friends is portrayed by Ryu Gil Oh (류길오).

Friend #3

Ryu Gil Oh (류길오)

Cast Highlights

  • The actor who portrays the nameless ghost (Sung Yeon Ho) appeared in the 2018 BL short film Some More. He was a supporting character in this movie.
  • The director Kang Woo worked on the 2017 BL series Long Time No See. He also led other short gay films, including I Don’t Care in 2016 and Some More in 2018.

Sweet Curse Review

Review

Movie Review Score: 5.2

D
Ha-jun suspects his apartment is haunted by ghosts.

Sadly, I was not impressed by Sweet Curse, a short horror movie that had the potential to be riveting. It tries to tell a different kind of BL story by tackling a notoriously tricky genre. The premise shows some intrigue, but it isn’t executed well enough. In more capable hands, we might enjoy a suspenseful paranormal thriller with some erotic undertones. Instead, Sweet Curse is let down by its muddled storytelling that lacks clarity and purpose.

This movie is unnecessarily convoluted. On paper, the plot should be straightforward, focusing on a gay guy who gets haunted by a horny ghost. However, Sweet Curse is bogged down by obtuse characters, strange pacing, and heavy-handed foreshadowing. I understand the gist of what is happening, but the narrative doesn’t seem intuitive or flow that fluidly. The events lead up to a bland conclusion devoid of drama or suspense.

The romance is uh…weird. A surprising relationship appears halfway through the film with no rationale or buildup. We’re forced to go along with this random couple, even if it doesn’t make any sense. It’s especially laughable when Ha-jun insists he has ~fallen in love~ based on almost nothing. The inexplicable storyline takes me out of immersion, almost like I’m watching nonsense instead of a coherent and credible movie.

Although the romance is lacklustre, Sweet Curse offers surprisingly erotic BL content. You will be amazed by the provocative sexual encounter, performed boldly by the actors. Their intimate exchange is full of desire, passion, and seductive sensuality. This movie also features explicit nudity with very stimulating camera angles. Let’s just say the bakery is now open and Ha-jun will be serving some sweet buns. 🍞

Sweet Curse isn’t that scary for a horror movie, although it succeeds in maintaining an eerie spookiness. A slight source of annoyance is that most scenes take place in dark and dingy rooms. The lack of lighting adds to the creepy ambiance, but it also creates a dull monotony to the visuals. Overall, my biggest problem with Sweet Curse is that I’m not persuaded by the weak narrative. The filmmaker could have used the thirty minutes wisely to tell a more vivid and much smoother story.

Story review

Ha-jun
Ha-jun is very popular among his friends.

My first impression of Sweet Curse is that these characters are OBSESSED with Ha-jun. The first few minutes of the movie featured the five friends hanging out and chatting. Somehow, every aspect of the conversation is about Ha-jun. It’s always Jun this or Jun that, non-stop. 

I know they’re driving the message that his character is Mr. Popular, but their lines don’t sound natural at all. Honestly, I don’t blame Min-woo for being jealous because it IS annoying that everyone’s attention orbits around Ha-jun. The universe doesn’t just consist of him, okay!?

Despite praising him to high heavens, Ha-jun’s character is remarkably ordinary. What’s with the obsession because I don’t get it. He’s a generic protagonist that gets put on a pedestal for some reason. His personality doesn’t shine in the scenes and it’s hard to engage with him.

Min-woo
Min-joo is secretly jealous of Ha-jun's popularity.

Min-woo’s jealousy isn’t highlighted well. We only know he’s annoyed during the conversation, but the source of his agitation is unclear. When I first watched the movie, I thought Min-woo had a crush on Ha-jun. Only later did I find out that his behaviour was supposed to be envious. 🙃

Min-woo’s characterization is too obtuse. He praises Ha-jun and pretends to support his friend. But deep down, he’s secretly jealous of him. However, his jealousy is only depicted very vaguely during the first scene. So, it doesn’t become clear why he’s aggravated and places a curse on his friend.

His character is confusing instead of complex, full of unclear motives and odd idiosyncrasies. He also doesn’t share enough interactions with Ha-jun, so his hostility seems unwarranted. There are better ways to portray the villain of the movie than what Sweet Curse does here.

The curse
An evil curse is placed on Ha-jun by Min-woo.

Summoning a ghost to haunt Ha-jun sounds more exciting in theory than in practice. We get a few generic horror movie scenes where Ha-jun faces spooky circumstances, but nothing worthy of highlighting. The only compelling part is when the ghost appears in an erotic nightmare. I was intrigued by the concept of a horny ghost who invades your dreams. However, Sweet Curse doesn’t explore that route after one nightmare, so I lost interest again.

Otherwise, nothing scary happens to Ha-jun. The ghost character pops up in the scenes with dramatic make-up, but he doesn’t actually do anything. I thought you were supposed to be an evil spirit? Can you do more haunting, please?

Romance review

Ha-jun and ghost
Ha-jun forms a sudden romance with the ghost that haunts him.

Inexplicably, a legitimate romance forms between Ha-jun and the ghost that is supposed to haunt him. Okay, what on earth is happening with this storyline!? How did Ha-jun go from being scared by the ghost to being attracted to an evil spirit!? 

I was perplexed when they started kissing and having sex out of nowhere. Please help me understand this relationship. Is Ha-jun so lonely and desperate that he must resort to having sex with an anonymous evil spirit? Ha-jun has a gaggle of human friends who throw themselves at him. Yet, he chooses to hook up with an apparition. 😶

It’s not even like Ha-jun and the ghost talked or formed a bond beforehand. They exchanged a few words with each other, and then the relationship immediately progressed to sex. There’s no rationale or buildup other than an antsy filmmaker who jumped the gun to film the sexy scenes. Their attraction is STRANGE as hell and I’m not into it at all.

Sex scene
Ha-jun finishes having sex with a ghost.

The sex scene in Sweet Curse is exceedingly explicit. These actors are fully naked and there’s a lot of physical contact between them. They kiss, grind against their bodies, and even grab each other’s butts. Not only does this movie display male intimacy, but it puts on a raw and glorified spectacle.

There are also some provocative camera shots of their rear ends, oh my goodness. At one point, Ha-jun’s ass takes up half of the bottom screen. 🍑 I was astonished by the amount of nudity and physicality in Sweet Curse. The only downside is that the scene doesn’t have sufficient lighting, much like the rest of the movie. I think Ha-jun is saving on electricity costs because he never turns on the lights in his apartment unit. The guy spends all his time shrouded in darkness.

Acting review

Okay acting
Min-woo is the secret villain of the movie.

The acting is okay, but there’s not much to report. Maybe Ha-jun’s actor is a little low-energy for a character supposedly getting haunted. Min-woo’s actor also gives a very literal interpretation of an evil villain. However, the plot is so ridiculous that I don’t blame him for hamming it up.

I actually kinda like the scenes at the bar. Even if their dialogue isn’t that great, the ensemble cast brings lively energy and sparks some interest. It might have been better if Ha-jun had a roommate or another screen partner in some scenes. It would allow the actor to interact with someone instead of carrying all the material by himself.

Ending review

Happy ending
Ha-jun and the ghost remain together in the Sweet Curse ending.

Sweet Curse has a happy ending where Min-woo fails in his vengeful plot against Ha-jun. Although Min-woo summons a demon, the ghost foils his plans to protect Ha-jun. However, these scenes play out weirdly and the events are explained through clunky exposition. There are a lot of theatrics, but not any drama or tension. Even the climax feels kinda flat.

A missed opportunity is that Ha-jun and Min-woo never have a confrontation. Min-woo spends the whole movie antagonizing his friend, but Ha-jun has no idea who the culprit is. The ending could have been more dramatic if their characters actually interacted face-to-face. Instead, this plot doesn’t feel resolved and there’s no satisfying payoff.

The final scene shows that Ha-jun and the ghost have continued their relationship, which makes no sense to me. The ghost is such a weird character. He plays an integral part in the plot, but we know nothing about him. Since the ghost has no development, I don’t care if he ends up with Ha-jun or not. Anyway, I won’t overthink the logistics of this implausible human-ghost romance. This ending feels beyond senseless and I’m not going to exert my mental energy on analyzing it.

Sweet Curse Interview

Sweet Curse Information

STRONGBERRY

Strongberry is a Korean BL studio that made Long Time No See (2017), Secret Roommate (2020), Sweet Curse (2021), among many LGBT series and short films.

STRONGBERRY is a Korean BL studio that made Long Time No See (2017), Some More (2018), As If You Whisper (2019), Secret Roommate (2020), Sweet Curse (2021), among many LGBT series and short films. The studio is also known as MATCHBOX.

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