K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Recall

Dreamcatcher Lives Their Own Nightmare Story In Hospital Horror Reality Show Episode

Dreamcatcher takes a group photo outside of an abandoned hospital, the site of Dreamcatcher Mind Episodes 3 and 4. Credit: hf_dreamcatcher

One of K-Pop Rock/Pop group Dreamcatcher’s claim to fame in the industry is that they were among the first to pioneer a darker concept in a time when cute or girl crush (and not much in between) seemed to rule the roost as far as girl groups go. Eschewing the K-Pop standard, Dreamcatcher’s debut and subsequent first storyline albums were called “Nightmare”, following a story where the group was cursed and subsequently became the embodiment of different fears and nightmares. This kind of horror-based concept was (and still is) part of the group’s trademark charm and why many fans place them in a unique space in the K-Pop sphere.

Of course, very few fans back in 2017 could have predicted that four years later, Dreamcatcher would have the tables turned on them during their own reality show. This past week had Dreamcatcher go to an abandoned hospital, confronting a pretty scary situation as they worked on their latest reality show episode to retrieve puzzle boxes amidst a bevy of unexpected horrors. The episode had plenty of standard horror movie moments, but also some wholesomeness sprinkled in, showing that even in these situations, Dreamcatcher gives us surprises.

But of course, that wasn’t the only news that happened this week, nor the only surprise. Let’s jump right in to a week filled with more Dreamcatcher happenings before we head back to the “Horror Hospital” from their 3rd reality show episode.

SuA grabs a quick pic with Girl’s Day Yura and Sleepy for SBS Youngstreet on the June 8th, 2021 episode. Credit: sbsyoungstreet

SuA’s regular Tuesday appearance on SBS Youngstreet this past Tuesday had her and Sleepy share time with Girl’s Day’s Yura. I was looking forward to this episode quite a bit, and not just for the fact that “Something” remains part of my K-Pop playlist to this day. For those not familiar, Yura’s got a pretty uniquely loud laugh, and of course, InSomnia are well-acquainted with how SuA can entertain just by her own distinct laughter. While I didn’t quite get the laugh chaos collision that I’d hoped for (it seemed Yura was laughing just a bit more quietly or was muting herself when doing so) we still got some fun interactions.

SuA, Yura, and Sleepy discussed how Yura’s got some of the same interests as SuA (drawing) along with some of the same high energy that makes them stand out. The week’s main topic discussed some of the most obvious lies with “Let’s go for a meal when we meet”, “I already told you this”, and simply laughing (“ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ”) "as the choices. SuA’s seemed to charm the guest DJs on all of her appearances, and Yura was no exception. When “Something” was playing Yura got a definite kick out of seeing SuA do part of the iconic choreography in her seat in time with her own motions. No surprise that Dreamcatcher’s main dancer knows some of K-Pop’s most iconic choreographies, but it was still nice to see Yura give the thumbs-up to SuA’s homage to the song.

There hasn’t been a video vLive since the 27th of May, a sign that has some fans speculating that a comeback might be soon on the horizon. Yoohyeon didn’t really help matters this past week in the only vLive to be put up, and her past spoiler-y behavior had her basically messing around with InSomnia, whether it was to set a funny title (“When will Dreamcatcher comeback?”), talk about what to do after the next comeback’s promotions (take a trip with SuA) or ask about what to wear for the Dance Practice video. None of this is any definitive sign that we’re soon to be on the comeback trail, but it was still kind of funny to see Yoohyeon turn the tables a bit on the fans, while also talking about a book she’s been reading along with a bit of random singing (including even a bit of MINX’s “Love Shake”). All in all, it was a nice, albeit short, voice vLive from Dreamcatcher’s lead vocalist, but with little to go on as far as any kind of upcoming music.

MyMusicTaste announces a fansign event for Dreamcatcher’s first concert DVD. Credit: _mymusictaste

What we did get, however, was a nice surprise regarding past music, specifically with Dreamcatcher’s two-night Crossroads concert event from back in March. Frequent partner MyMusicTaste was notoriously silent and taking longer-than-usual with getting the concert out onto the internet, and when I checked the Korea Media Rating Board website, the VODs had had ratings assigned to them on the 20th and 26th of May, respectively. So what was taking so long? We got our answer late in the week — Dreamcatcher Company and My Music Taste were finalizing details for Dreamcatcher’s very first concert DVD of the performances.

The full details of the event and where to purchase appeared on a new Dreamcatcher Crossroads DVD Fansign page, along with a helpful FAQ for more details. At 53,000 KRW, the price seems quite reasonable for what appears to be in the package, which at this time appears to be among other things two photobooks plus an extra DVD for behind-the-scenes footage. You’ve got until July 4th, 2021 to make a decision, so be sure to figure out whether you want to not miss out on this sooner rather than later. For me, this was yet another milestone in a number of them achieved by the group this year, and yet another bit of evidence to show that Dreamcatcher has a certain degree of solidarity and recognition to be able to be worth doing physical media for their concerts.

Dreamcatcher Mind, Episode 3 — Search the Abandoned Hospital. Credit: Dreamcatcher official

But of course, the main bit of content we got from Dreamcatcher this past week was the 3rd episode of their reality show. With every episode seemingly different from the last, we had plenty of InSomnia wondering what the group would be up to this time, and it turns out that giving them a chance to show how they’d deal with elements of a dark horror and nightmare concept in the form of an abandoned hospital was their latest mission to overcome. Tasked with navigating their way through a darkened set with all manner of haunted house type elements, this one was so intense that it had to be divided into two parts, with this week’s episode 4 giving us the conclusion to what we saw last Wednesday.

Dami and SuA match up as a team while Handong is left to wonder why her luck is so bad. Credit: Dreamcatcher official

Here’s the TL;DR of what went down in the “Horror Puzzle” at the abandoned hospital:

  • Dreamcatcher drew colored balls to determine teams, and Dami/SuA, Siyeon/Yoohyeon, and JiU/Gahyeon got paired together, while Handong, continuing a streak of poor luck that started with being killed first during episode 2’s Among Us parody, was tasked with venturing into the horror hospital on her own.
  • Dami and SuA, the former trying not to see all the horrifying things in front of her and the latter getting so scared she screamed profanities, made their way to the first hospital room and managed, after some teamwork and some solid, literal kicks from SuA, to get the first puzzle box.
  • Unlucky Handong journeyed forth into the second floor of the hospital on her own, and even though she made a good effort of it, became so paralyzed with fear she couldn’t continue. Thankfully for her, Dami and SuA, in a bit of a wholesome moment, called for her to come back so they could all enter the next room together.
  • After some careful teamwork and some crafty, yet sometimes hilarious tactics, Dami, SuA, and Handong managed to get the second puzzle box, though some production failures (including a ghost actor that never got the opportunity to scare anyone) made this a bit easier than it could have been.
  • Missions/Challenges cleared:
  • X-Ray Room
  • 1st Floor Ward

This was one of those episodes where the entertainment was mostly expected to be in the form of the scares that Dreamcatcher experienced trying to go through the abandoned hospital and into the darkness. Even though they certainly knew that this was all an act, it’s the same reason that people get freaked out when they go to haunted house attractions on Halloween or at amusement parks — your instincts still take over when confronted with a bit of a scary, unexpected situation. The humor was certainly on full display here, though — in addition to all of the well-timed production elements (such as putting Dami and SuA’s boxing training shots right next to them getting scared) we got plenty of Dreamcatcher fun out of this. Normally bold SuA running away within seconds of coming down the hall, Dami not being able to look at anything because of all the members she can’t stand scary stuff the most, and Handong rivaling SuA for loudest in terms of screams were all humorous moments we won’t soon forget. Many memes will be made.

Dami is waiting for a scared Handong and comforts her with a reassuring embrace. Credit: Dreamcatcher official

But there was a certain degree of softness to the episode as well, mostly surrounding the fact that Handong, left on her own, soon had the support of her fellow Dreamcatcher members to help her out. Dami and SuA, both of whom been more than happy to look out for Handong, were the first to try to check on her and tell her to come back, eventually going back in despite their own fears to help her out. The whole sequence of Handong going off on her own, confident yet alone, and then returning to her welcoming fellow groupmates seemed to me an unintentional microcosm of her decision to leave the group temporarily in late 2019 and most of 2020 to participate in a reality show in China and re-focus and find herself, returning to a supportive Dreamcatcher who have allowed her to shine in 2021. This was no exception, and while it’s easy to be cynical in a volatile industry like K-Pop and say this is all a part of what idols outwardly present to their audiences, I honestly feel like it’s hard to not see what happened here as genuine.

In a time when reality shows, even ones in South Korea, might try to push the “solo person in a scary place” event for entertainment, it was to the credit of the production staff that they not only allowed Handong to come back when she felt uncomfortable but also give her the chance to bring people with her to help her. It was, as I’ve said before, a nice bit of unexpected wholesomeness in an otherwise scare-fest of an episode, but it also helps that the production staff isn’t afraid to switch the mood around to relieve some of the horror tension (that bit of self-deprecation at the end about failing some of the jump scares in rehearsal was just one example).

Dreamcatcher’s teams for the abandoned hospital episodes. Credit: Dreamcatcher official

Will we see equal parts both horror and hugs in the next episode, which will serve as the 2nd part of the Horror Hospital? It seems to be a safe bet — the group photo I linked shows Siyeon and Yoohyeon having gotten into what appears to have been fake blood, and a single shot of a scared and fearful Gahyeon in this episode seemed to preview what’s to come. But that will certainly not be the only bit of news to come out of Dreamcatcher as we head into mid-June. Stay tuned to here for the regular recap next week, drop a clap and/or a follow if you don’t want to miss it, as this will no doubt be yet more entertainment and content for InSomnia everywhere.

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Lifetime geek dual-wielding in the tech and games industries for over a decade. Builder of walls of text. Shameless Asian pop lover.

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