HOMETOWN on Netflix is a Korean crime thriller mystery series from 2021. There are 12-hour-long episodes, and the story is character-driven and quite slow-burn. Fortunately, it’s also very intriguing and inspired by a few real events. Read our full Hometown series review here and watch it on Netflix!
HOMETOWN is a new South Korean series on Netflix. It’s from 2021 and one of those productions we’ve seen mentioned so many times, that we were quite intrigued when it got this Netflix release. The series has 12 episodes and they are all around one hour in runtime, so there is obviously a lot of ground to cover.
Also, you’ll know from episode 1 that the story plays out across several time periods. What I found intriguing was how it was clearly inspired (at least in part) by true stories. It’s difficult not to draw certain parallels as they do become very obvious. However, it’s also noted that none of the characters or events in the series are based on a true story.
Continue reading our Hometown mini-series review below. Find all 12 episodes on Netflix now!
An extremely intriguing premise
While the core story is set in 1999, we do also go back quite a lot, so you need to pay attention to these time period changes. They are shown clearly (for the most part), so it’s not too difficult to keep up.
In 1999, we meet Choi Hyung-In (Yoo Jae-Myung) who works as a detective. He lost his wife in a terrorist attack around 10 years earlier. Something he still hasn’t dealt with much except for having a lot of guilt and focusing on his job. When investigating a new murder case (and the disappearance of a girl), he ends up suspecting that these new cases are somehow related to the terrorists.
In that brutal attack ten years earlier, the older brother of Jo Jung-Hyun’s (Han Ye-Ri) was one of the terrorists responsible. The attack took place in a subway station in their hometown – hence the title.
It goes without saying, that being the sister – or any other family member – of the terrorist has led to a difficult life. After all, the attack took the lives of people in their own neighborhood. Jo Jung-Hyun is pretty much labeled a terrorist as much as her brother.
Fortunately, Jo Jung-Hyun has been able to rebuild her life. This is especially thanks to her niece, who is the daughter of her older brother. Yes, the terrorist. When her niece suddenly goes missing, Jo Jung-Hyun struggles to find her. Always fearing it could be related to the crimes of her brother, the niece’s father.
We also get to know Jo Kyung-Ho (Um Tae-Goo) as a mysterious prisoner, sentenced to life in prison. Having studied in Japan, he returned to South Korea in 1989. Then he released sarin gas at a train station in his hometown and proceeded to turn himself in. It’s all very strange and seems carefully calculated.
This is not a paranormal story
While the opening sequence of Hometown on Netflix may lead you to believe something paranormal is going on, that really isn’t the case. This is more of a crime mystery made as a thriller with brutal horror elements.
Mind games are a big part of the story, but if you’ve watched any documentaries about cults, then you’ll recognize this within a few episodes. Also, there are elements you’ll recognize from the “playbook” featured in the Netflix docu-series How to Become a Cult Leader (read our review here).
This new mystery crime thriller series stars Yoo Jae-myung (Stranger), Han Ye-ri (Minari), and Um Tae-goo (I Saw the Devil, Night in Paradise). Also, you’ll see Song Young-Chang, Kim Sae-byuk, Choi Kwang-Il, Yoon Kyung-Ho, and Lee Re. To name just a few.
After all the story plays out across a few time periods, so some characters are portrayed by more than one actor. Also, while there is a core cast, there are also quite a lot of supporting characters, so the cast is fairly large.
Watch the Hometown series on Netflix now!
The director of this new South Korean series on Netflix is Park Hyeon-seok. The writer of the Hometown series is Joo Jin, and it does feel like a very classic South Korean style of storytelling. By that I mean it’s character-driven, slow-burn, and no one is really “safe”.
Also, while there are heroes and villains in this story – as with most others – no one is completely good or evil. There are usually nuances and reasons for their behavior. Something that goes beyond them simply being kind or crazy.
This is a rather long mini-series with 12 hour-long episodes. However, it does make sense as there is quite a lot of story to cover. I mean, we need to see how someone gets involved with a cult, and what could possibly drive anyone to kill the people of their hometown. Even going so far as to leave behind their own child as they give themselves up for a prison sentence.
Oh yeah, there’s plenty of storyline to last it 12 episodes. It does also require your attention, so only watch it if you’re ready to take a break from social media while watching. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on too much.
The 12 episodes of the Hometown mini-series were released on Netflix on October 29, 2023.
Director: Park Hyeon-seok
Writer: Joo Jin
Cast: Yoo Jae-myung, Han Ye-ri, Um Tae-goo, Kim Sae-byuk, Choi Kwang-Il, Lee Re
In a small town in 1999, the sister of a convicted terrorist joins a detective’s investigation into bizarre recording tapes capturing serial killings.