‘Squid Game’ is Korean Brilliance

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Published September 28, 2021
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Seong Gi-hun is played by Lee Jung-jae in "Squid Game." Photo courtesy of Netflix

There is no show quite like “Squid Game,” the Korean drama released Sept. 17 on Netflix.

With the amount of gore and plot twists in the nine-episode series, the only thing that could come close is the infamous and just as brilliant “Saw” franchise. Though there aren’t any elaborate traps awaiting the contestants in “Squid Game,” the games involve luck, and if players have it, they just may make it to see the end.

Directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, “Squid Game” follows the story of Seong Gi-hun, played by Lee Jung-jae, as he struggles to pay thousands of dollars back in debt, as well as make time for his daughter and be a good son. Having difficulty coming to terms with his financial status, Gi-hun makes bad decisions; that’s how he ends up in the Squid Games to begin with.

The 456 contestants in “Squid Game” must pass six tests to win the ultimate prize, which is money to pay off their various debts. The only catch is they can’t leave the facility, and unless the majority decides to go home and forfeit the money, all players must participate in every game.

Gi-hun, although greedy with his money, is a bright and loving person who always tries to bring positivity to any situation. His optimistic personality is the main reason why so many don’t lose hope while participating in the Squid Games.

While not giving too much of the plot away, or the characters’ backgrounds, it is evident that “Squid Game” is extremely thought out and designed to have you on the edge of your seat for the nine-hour ride. After discovering the plot of the show was worked on over the course of 13 years, it’s no wonder each episode fit like pieces in a puzzle. Viewers can tell the entire series was put together with so much attention to detail that there were little to no plot holes in the story.

The facility where "Squid Game" takes place is a maze of brightly colored hallways and zigzagging staircases. Photo courtesy of Netflix

The facility where “Squid Game” takes place is a maze of brightly colored hallways and zigzagging staircases.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

The main visual point executed by Netflix extremely well is their amazing set designs. These sets, while simple at first glance, are highly detailed and tell the story of each game. Some were vibrant in color while others were simply terrifying. “Squid Game” takes place in a maze of brightly colored hallways and zigzagging staircases, resembling a work of art when observed from the top down.

I also noticed that the show was extremely well put together in terms of videography. Every scene was either lively with colors and lights or eerie and mysterious. A lot of the characters benefited from this, as it helped distinguish their personalities from one another at the beginning of the show.

The only downside of the series is when the VIPs, the group of wealthy men who fund the Squid Games, come to watch the final two games. The dramatic switch from everyone speaking Korean to everyone speaking English takes away from the environment and atmosphere building. Most of their lines weren’t important to the plot and in some instances felt gimmicky and overdramatic.

The 456 contestants in "Squid Game" must pass six tests to win the ultimate prize. Photo courtesy of Netflix

The 456 contestants in “Squid Game” must pass six tests to win the ultimate prize.
Photo courtesy of Netflix

Overall, “Squid Game” is eerie and brilliant, often leaving me to place my hands over my mouth or eyes out of shock with how many plot twists were thrown in. The suspense and buildup of every episode are followed by gore and, on some occasions, utter despair.

The only words I can describe the series with are clever and mind-blowing. I binge-watched the show within a day of its release and am already gearing up for an announcement of a second season.

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