- Year of Release
- Action, Drama
- 1h 0min
The title ‘Squid Game’ will draw people in even before they realise what it’s about. And that’s a great ‘something’, not sure if it’s excellent marketing or the writer was having a brilliant nostalgic moment. One thing rings true: if you get caught in the vicious grip of Squid Game, you’re going to either crave for more or you’re going to be reviled. It seems there is no middle ground with this show.
Squid Game results from the writer Hwang Dong-hyuk’s personal experiences being heavily in debt and living in a Manhwabang in South Korea. It is these true-life elements that make Squid Game as entertaining as it is. Hwang Dong-hyuk struggled to write the first two episodes and was turned away from multiple studios when he tried to shop around for potential buyers. Squid Game came close to never becoming anything more than an idea. Somehow that sense of hopelessness that the creator felt during this process has seeped into his writing, raising the interesting subject matter to a level nobody could have predicted.
Squid Game focuses on several characters who are all heavily in debt. One by one, they are drawn into participating in a game that will rid them of their debt and make them extremely rich. Sounds too good to be true? Once the competitors are introduced to their first game, that hidden “catch” is revealed. From this moment on, we advise you not to watch if you are faint-hearted. There’s a lot of violence and blood, but all a necessity to tell this story. These people are desperate already. Throw a phenomenal amount of money into the mix, and you have the ingredients for turning ordinary, trustworthy people into psychopaths.
Why do we gravitate towards shows like Squid Game? As violent and chaotic as it is, Squid Game is a stark reminder of just how destructive addiction (and debt) can become. And as individuals, some of us will choose to continue to suffer and prolong the suffering of others instead of following the straight and narrow road to recovery.
The sets for Squid Game seem unique. It’s interesting because unless you grew up in South Korea, you wouldn’t recognise the games that the participants are required to play. However, once the games begin, you’ll notice similarities between these games and the same games you may have played as a child. I don’t know whether that’s supposed to be purposefully creepy or not. But it works to a significant effect.
From episode to episode, many of the intense feelings of failure and desperation are experienced by various characters. And this is an ongoing theme. Everything is dialled up a notch for the impact, which will have varying effects on the audience.
Once you become familiar with the key players of Squid Game, you’re going to see a little bit of yourself in most of them. It is this crucial connection with the characters that Hwang Dong-hyuk has made impossible to ignore. Suddenly, you too will be making choices about who you think should win and who shouldn’t. Survival is the only thing that matters. Even the main character (and a good guy), gambler Gi-hun finds himself in an impossible situation. Those looking for “shock” value will find that in droves. Anyone who has seen “Battle Royale” and enjoyed it will love Squid Game.
Originally reviewed for Keithlovesmovies
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Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.