Squid Game is a 2021 South Korean survival series written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. It premiered on Netflix on September 17, 2021 and has gone on to top Netflix’s top 10 TV show chart.
The premise of the TV series would be Hunger Games meets Saw with a hint of Black Mirror. 456 people are recruited to participate in high stakes games with a pot prize of ₩45.6 billion. Why so much? Because failure to complete a game results in death….
They play Korean childhood games but with fatal consequences. Small wonder when my nephew walked in to the room while I was watching, he asked if I was playing the live-action version of the Play Station game Fall Guys. Note Squid Game is a violent series rated 18, its not what I would call wholesome family viewing.
When you start watching Squid Game, you are probably going to have to finish watching Squid Game. I binge-watched the 9 episode series over a two day period. Right from the first episode, it draws you and it won’t let you go. The cinematography of the set has a whimsical feel belying the deadliness beneath the surface.
Squid Game makes you think and question yourself as to what you would do to survive when it costs someone else so much. The contestants in the challenges are people drowning in debt, desperate enough to bet on the one thing they have, their lives.
I jokingly referred to the series as Game Of Squid a passing reference to Game Of Thrones where any character could die, valar morghulis, you cant predict who will make it through to the end of the series.
The series is in a Korean language and when I watched it with English Subtitles, it was easy to miss out on the action trying to follow the subtitles. I eventually settled for watching the English Dub version and surprisingly the Voice Overs weren’t too bad; I had feared they might ruin the feel and authenticity of the series.
Squid Game seems to hint at a larger meaning to life and humanity while also touching on aspects of South Korean society such as equality, capitalism and the gap between those with and those without. Unfortunately, some of the finer nuances of this got lost in my lack of understanding of South Korea’s intricacies.
I got the impression people from a certain area were looked down upon and some of the games themselves seemed to represent something from tradition as some of the characters were familiar with some games and some weren’t, maybe something about the type of childhood upbringing but I was unable to decode the full message between the lines.
I also felt some of the characters were a bit over the top and the story could have unfolded nicely without them or at least had they had more presence than as simply voyeurs with a few corny lines of script.
If you have 9 hours to kill and looking for something that will keep you at the edge of your seat while taking you on a bit of roller coaster ride that you don’t even know which character to route for, then definitely give this a watch.
The series ends on a bit of cliff-hanger that will drive you up the wall but it seems to set up for Season 2. The director Hwang Dong-hyuk told Variety that while he has not planned for a sequel, if he were to do it, he would have a team of writers and multiple directors on board as it was a lot of work creating this.
Have you watched would you watch it? Would you play Squid Games for a pile of money?