Genre : Horror; Thriller
Director: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Hundreds of people get killed in this series. It is a challenging task to create scenarios and characters which make us genuinely cry when they die. Squid Game understands its task and gives us a truly unsettling story.
Gi-Hung enters a highly secretive game to win a billion of dollars. Along with him, 455 players are taking part. Every player is desperate to play until they realise that the game is deadly.
Set Design and Costume
Without these two things, I don’t feel the series would be the same. The game facility is painted with bright colours like pink, yellow and blue. It feels as if we are in the chocolate factory from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate factory’. Higher officials who manage the game have luxurious compartments consisting of shiny black and glitter gold. Every corner is so visually appealing. Moreover, the red guard costumes and blood provide a contrast to this pretty place.
All the character are poverty-stricken and have their own battles to fight. Still why would they want to gamble their precious life? It is made evident in the first few episodes ‘why’ these characters want to play the game. If the creators hadn’t focus on this aspect, which they did, it would make up for an unconvincing story.
Also, each character is different. Some are cunning, some are innocent and some will do anything to win the game. There are few characters who come in the latter half. They have very less screen time, but still when they die, we feel sad.
Korean movies like Train to Busan and #Alive had a mild humour amidst their zombie apocalypse setting. In Squid Game I found this element lacking. The protagonist does his best but it just confines us to smiles and not a laugh.
The series had a few subplots showcasing the behind-the-scenes of the game. While they were intriguing, these subplots couldn’t grow to their potential. Most of them ended very blankly. The only plot that kept me captivated for the entirety was that of the game. Whenever there is a next game, the screenplay picks up.
Blood and Gore
In the first episode, a person hits Gi-Hung (the protagonist). He then tastes Gi-Hung’s blood. Well, this is the level of disturbing sequences. In every episode there are intense gory scenes. However, they don’t match the intensity of gore shown in ‘The Platform’.
I knew the end is going to be tragic and it was. But, instead of a bright and positive outcome, the creators focused more on the miserable outcome. The end seems draggy and even the twist is not surprising. Thankfully, the end doesn’t have a severe cliff-hanger and leaves enough space for a second season.
Should you watch Squid Game?
If you like to watch games, rivalries between players, sad character stories, dead people and a lot of gore, this series is for you.
Overall, it was a fun watch but not an all-time -favourite. I did have some issues with the subplots and reveals in the plot. A badly executed fight scene in Episode 4 tested my patience. Despite its flaws, you need to give it a watch if you are a thriller-horror fan. Also, a ‘Train to Busan’ fan is in for a treat as there is a cameo by Gong Yoo who steals the show whenever he is in the scene.
An Indian reviewer who writes about horror and thriller movies/series. If not movies, he likes to pick up a mystery book to read. Some of his favourite movies/series include Stranger Things, Elite (S1-3), Train to Busan, Andhadhun, Strangers: Prey at Night.