If you feel an eerie presence inside your house or want to sell a haunted property, it’s time to ask for help from Daebak Real Estate. It is a real estate firm that exorcises resentful spirits from people’s properties for a small commission and is run by Jang Na-ra (Oh My Baby) as Hong Ji-ah and CNBLUE’s Jung Yong-hwa (The Package) as Oh In-beom. Sell Your Haunted House is a horror comedy drama about a real estate agent who exorcises spirits for a living and a fraud exorcist who sets up fake apparitions inside properties to scam people for money. The two eventually cross paths and decide to team up.
Note: This is a first week review only.
Frankly, nothing about the trailer or the synopsis of this show piqued my interest, but I was drawn to Jang’s character Ji-ah, the CEO of Daebak Real Estate, which made me want to give the premiere a chance. From the early years of fragile female leads who always needed the male leads to come to save them, we have come to the glorious age of the badass female leads who not only talk back but also fight physically. Gone are the days where female leads have to be forgiving, understanding, and fake smiling.
These were my exact expectations from Jang Na-ra’s character and thankfully, she delivered. Hong Ji-ah would gladly take anyone on a sparring session without having to hold back, her grim expression intact. And that’s just one of the things that excite me when watching dramas with empowered, nonconforming female characters—more scenes of women putting arrogant men in their places. Plus, it’s Jang Na-ra— the last empress and the scorned VIP woman—and I only have high expectations from an actress of her caliber.
On the other hand, Jung Yong-hwa seems like a good choice to play the conman In-beom. As Jang’s leading man and soon-to-be love interest in the story, Jung has what it takes to level with Jang’s overwhelming screen presence. Sell Your Haunted House is also the singer-turned-actor’s drama comeback after a hiatus from acting due to his military enlistment. To be paired with one of the brightest stars in South Korea could be a turning point in his acting career—if he performs well. And for the most part, Jung performs well, although he was overshadowed by the leading lady in their scenes together.
For a drama of the mystery genre to be successful, viewers need to be curious about the missing piece in the puzzle enough to keep tuning in. Thankfully, the drama was able to hit it off right from the bat. The opening episodes and the premise is interesting, and I’m even intrigued by a possible romance between the leads. Although, I hope they do not focus so much on the love story that they fail to develop the main story—their driving narrative. For now, this show’s leads are not showing on-screen sparks, but it’s too soon to give any opinions in the romance department yet.
In terms of the plot, Sell Your Haunted House is no exception to borrowing concepts from other dramas. Everything about it screamed Hotel Del Luna (2019)—from Ji-ah’s spending habits, her obnoxious personality, short temper, and even being the CEO of an establishment with a tragic past that mainly involves the death of a loved one. Even the music and the ambiance reminded me a lot of Hotel Del Luna, but I’m not complaining. Mostly because Jang pulled off her character and made it her own. I particularly like how she chooses to execute her character’s personality—bold enough and without the cringey exaggeration I often see in other Korean series.
It seems that every episode will feature a different case of death and haunted properties, but the main narrative centers on a murder mystery that happened 20 years ago, tying Ji-ah and In-beom’s fate together. As an exorcist, Ji-ah needs a psychic to serve as her medium in order to exorcise the spirits, but none of her psychics are strong enough to be a vessel. This is especially true for Ji-ah’s mother, a powerful spirit who appears to nag at Ji-ah’s impulsive buying habits. In-beom then comes into the picture and teams up with Ji-ah, but even he is no match for her mother’s rage. A lot of backstories are still waiting to be told in the coming episodes for us to figure out the whole mystery, but one thing is certain: Ji-ah’s mom and In-beom’s uncle were killed in the exact same place—in Ji-ah’s home.
After watching the premiere episodes, I believe we have another promising drama on air. Perhaps it’s because there are so many details that the series is fast-paced enough to be satisfying and intriguing. In addition, Ji-ah’s action scenes are just too good to watch. Combined with the trickster In-beom, they make a great ghost-busting team—as long as In-beom does not con Ji-ah, who has a nasty temper. I recommend that you watch it, too. It would be a shame to miss out on Jang Na-ra kicking butts of both the living and the dead.