The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
A man asks you to play a game…
Every time he wins he gets to slap you in the face, but every time you win he’ll give you money.
Squid Game introduces us to a distressed character who encounters such an offer as a quick solution for his desperate need for money. And what starts as a story of debt and human tragedy soon escalates to a survival game for $40 million of prize money against 456 participants. The catch you may ask? Death as collateral for losing.
What makes the show so unique is the premise of using classic Korean children’s games to portray the characters’ desperate attempts to escape debt at the expense of risking other player’s as well as their own lives.
Rather than focusing on the inherent flaws of a capitalistic society, Squid Game hands the spotlight to the character’s unique situations, backgrounds, and most interesting of all, their human reactions to such a dystopian reality of money. In the own words of the show director’s Hwang Dong-hyuk:
“Squid Game involves survival games, but it’s actually about people…this series is a story of losers. There are no winners – no geniuses – but rather a person who takes each step forward with the help of others.”
The character’s charisma has been part of the show’s appeal, leading to the creation of millions of simping content 😉 under the TikTok hashtag #squidgame, which has already hit the mark of one billion and thousands of memes talking about the famous honeycomb tracing game.
Korean media has been praised for not only achieving complex character building but also for the aesthetic world-building and mind-bending plot twists. Quoting Bong Joon-Ho, the director of the hit movie Parasite, once you go beyond the subtitle barrier, there is a whole cinematic universe awaiting.
Be it your first Korean show or not, here are 5 recommendations that encapsulate the uniqueness of Korean media that Squid Game has offered as soon to be one of Netflix’s most popular shows ever:
1. Parasite – mOVIE
A must-watch Oscar winner. Cannot recommend it enough.
Topics: Social critic, thriller, rich-poor contrast, black comedy.
2. Extracurricular – Tv series
To keep the blood pumping. Action-packed drama with unexpected plot twists.
Topics: Crime, teen drama, thriller, money and complex characters.
3. the truth beneath – movie
A family in the political spotlight maintains a pristine public image but then the daughter disappears..
Topics: Mystery disappearance, thriller, teen tragedy, power and politics.
4. Sweet home – Tv series
Thrilling scenery and dramatic survival. Messy character backstories.
Topics: Horror, action, apocalyptic drama, fantasy tragedy.
5. The vengeance trilogy – movies
Aesthetically pleasing filled to the brim with black humour. Some of the best of Park Chan-wook’s work.
Topics: Vengeance, crime, action, betrayal, blood. TW: graphic violence.