Over the years, I have become an ardent follower of Korean movies. Even though most of the movies are laden with violence, gore, and bloodbath and sometimes they are a bit over the top, the chills and thrills of a good number of Korean movies I have watched till date have not disappointed me. However, I was a bit apprehensive of watching a Korean web series even though it is insanely popular and one of the most trending shows in the recent past. The very name Squid Game, the latest offering from Netflix did not appear to be very much appealing. However, I risked my time on the rave reviews the show is getting. And boy! It has paid back. I cannot recall any single show with more thrill factors than this. Yes, there may be better shows in terms of intrinsic production values. But if you ask me to select one show where even for one second, I could not hold my breath, it was this, it was this, nothing but this. Normally my hectic work schedule does not allow me to binge-watch a show. But Squid Game eventually turned me into a Binge-watcher. It is so much enjoyable, spine-chilling, and mind-bending.
It is believed that even if ghosts exist, human beings are capable of making this world even a more ghostly place than the original ghosts would do. Basically, greed, lust, lack of control, survival instinct, desire for power and authority, insanity make people do macabre things and when people get the taste of blood, they become even more dangerous than the man-eating animals. Squid Game captivates human emotions to an extent you are awestruck. The level where people can stoop to, to make things shinier for his own life will make you sick as you watch episodes after episodes of this brilliantly made series. The raw violence and gore, trademarks of the Korean style of moviemaking are present throughout and this makes the show unsuitable for the children even though the central theme is based on the games played during childhood. In the age of Super Computers, when people have stopped playing those forgotten games any longer, a group of losers is seduced to play six rounds of those games. Winning will guarantee them freedom from every debt as the rewards of winning are astronomical. But the punishment for losing is what makes the series so very horrific, gruesome, and rewarding- death. How the real-life losers vie with each other to redeem their own lost hopes is the plot of this super-paced series.
The show is full of metaphors. It may be worth mentioning that of late numerous movies have also come up with the portrayal of the absence of an egalitarian society in South Korea. The rich are becoming richer and the poor are becoming poorer. Remember Parasite and the subtle show of class struggle therein? Squid Game also tends to point fingers at the inequality prevailing in South Korean society. Few references to the illegal immigration from North Korea are there, too.
Squid Game in many ways is similar to one movie I watched long back- Exam. There also the creator worked on the same concept and I liked that movie. But in Squid Game, the dividends are more rewarding, scintillating and thrilling. I simply cannot recall a single dull moment in the entire show with a runtime of around eight and half hours. The lead actors especially Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae Soo, Jung Ho-yeon are stunning. The old man (I could not google his name) was fascinating. The script is tight, gripping and addictive. The cinematography is insanely horrific just what the screenplay demanded. The music matches the spirit of the show. The creator Hwang Dong-hyuk creates an environment that is claustrophobic, ominous, and jaw-dropping. There are flaws, I agree. “The VIPs are so bad!”- everyone is saying. The entire episode of the cop is superfluous and could be done away with as it leads to nowhere. But, the goods are so good that these little bads can be overlooked.
Overall, this show will haunt you days after you have finished watching it. Remember, it is not an easy watch because of the abundance of blood spills, gory scenes, and ever-mounting tension. But if you are a lover of the thriller/horror genre, this is a series you have been waiting for years. This is going to make amends for the poor choices Netflix has been making for some time now. Be a player, watch Squid Game.
My Rating – 9.5 out of 10
Available on – Netflix