Squid Game: Is it worth the Hype?

Molly Ziesenheim and Ella Yurick

Trailer: Squid Game | Official Trailer | Netflix

In the new series, “Squid Game”, starring Jung Ho-yeon and Park Hae Soo, hundreds of debt-ridden people sign up to compete for billions of South Korean won under mysterious circumstances. In the nine-episode series, 465 desperate individuals play a series of children’s games to win approximately $40 million USD. But there’s a catch, if they lose, they get killed.

456 people in dire circumstances call the number on a card given to them by a strange man, accepting his offer to “participate in a game”, only to be placed in a van and knocked out with sleeping gas. They awake in a dormitory dressed in green tracksuits being watched by armed men whose faces are covered with masks. They must play six games in six days. Those who do not follow the rules are eliminated. In this case, elimination means death. 

Everything there is methodical- from meal distribution to the violence that escalates with each game. While many of the players struggle with the circumstances surrounding the game, the majority choose to remain at the compound.

As the players’ stories come into view, “Squid Game” unpacks the implications of inequality. This inequality has drawn each of the players into this battle for their lives. While the basis of the show is a simple one, the overarching purpose is meant to be an attack on hyper-capitalism and the resulting consequences.

This high-concept Korean drama was No. 1 on its second day in its home country and entered the Top 10 after just two days globally. It hit No. 1 everywhere within only four days. It quickly entered Netflix’s Top 10 rankings in the United States – the first Korean show to do so. With its simple but brutal storyline, “Squid Game” is becoming a global phenomenon.

Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, told Variety earlier this week, “We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity.”

What makes it so well-suited for binging is Hwang Ding-hyuk’s (writer and director) use of cliffhangers to make the series absurdly addictive. The series relies on an insidious psychological horror that wraps its tentacles around you. Each episode is nearly an hour-long, but the endings of each episode leave you eager for more.

The Korean Netflix series is not just worth watching, it’s binge-worthy, too. This is a top-quality series with its intriguing story, visuals, acting, and teleplay. If you haven’t gotten on the “Squid Game” bandwagon yet, now is the time.