Squid Game, or Ojingeo Geim, is a Korean action-adventure-thriller series written and directed by Dong-hyuk Hwang and starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Heo Sung-tae, Wi Ha-joon and Jung Ho-yeon, alongside other cast members. The series has 9 episodes, each around an hour long.
Netflix describes the series as:
Hundreds of cash-strapped players accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games. Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes.
– Squid Game review does not contain spoilers –
Squid Game reminded me of Alice in Borderland. And, yes, this isn’t set in the apocalypse. But still, when you’ll be done with this one, it’ll feel pretty apocalyptic. That being said, the series features a few very familiar faces including Heo Sung-tae (Beyond Evil) and Gong Yoo (Train to Busan).
Anyway, Squid Game starts by showing us Gi-hun’s life. He’s broke and desperate and that desperation grows when he realises that his ex-wife and her new husband are taking his daughter off to the US next year. Without much choice, he volunteers to “play games” in lieu of money. What follows, though, is nothing short of horrific.
Korean and Japanese survival TV shows are almost always a good deal. Gi-hun’s initial confusion at being thrown into this odd world is all of us. We’re as confused as him. When he, and the 500-odd others, come across the masked men, it’s as perplexing for the participants as it is for us.
However, when the games start, it’s absolutely thrilling and a crazy experience. I couldn’t move during Green Light, Red Light – it was absolutely breathtaking. In juxtaposition to that, we listen to Fly Me to the Moon, a combination that is truly horrifying. The series, since it’s so thought-out and well-made, flies by – its almost hour-long episodes feel like a breeze. Like, a simple process such as voting can be so absolutely suspenseful!
However, what’s striking in Squid Game is not just the horrifying games, but the deep emotional moments of the series. This isn’t just about mindless murder. There are these moments that are so heartbreaking. Gi-hun’s mother unable to afford the hospital due to their lack of finances is heartbreaking because absolutely no one should have to choose between food and healthcare. And it’s not just him, everyone else who was forced to participate has a sad backstory, making them vulnerable to be preyed on.
Another interesting part of Squid Game, however, is the people’s motivation to do what they are doing. Although some are pure evil, almost all have a reason for giving up their sense of morality. Everyone’s desperate, strapped of cash, and their complex relationships with the people around them and themselves will make you care for each other the contestants deeply, at least for Gi-hun’s team.
Let’s talk about Squid Game’s sets. Absolutely amazing – they are so beautiful and most are vibrant, candy-coloured expansive places which truly defines a huge shady corporation with a lot of money. You wouldn’t expect people to be violently murdered there, but well. Maybe that’s what makes it all the more shocking.
The music choices during an ongoing game are absolutely hilarious but threatening at the same time. The fun music is often followed by carnage and mayhem. If you’re someone who loves the thrill and the shock value, this is it. There is a gratuitous amount of blood all over the place and guts are sprayed on every free surface. So, you know what you’re getting into!
Summing up: Squid Game
Squid Game is a show that you might or might not have seen, but the show is bingeable as all heck and it’s definitely something that you should watch. Additionally, it will definitely make you ask about morality and the point of humanity. Is it the people fighting to survive whom we should be blaming? Or is it the people sitting in their comfortable seats watching them murder each other?
Squid Game is streaming on Netflix.
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