Story by Abigail Ostovich | Contributing Writer
Everyone’s current obsession with Netflix’s disturbing South Korean horror series, “Squid Game,” is taking over social media platforms worldwide.
The creator of Squid Game, Hwang Dong-hyuk, originally wrote the show back in 2009 and was rejected by numerous studios for years. After countless studios turned down his script, Hwang had to stop writing the script for Squid Game and sell his computer due to financial struggles. Today it is the No. 1 in 90 countries and is currently estimated to be the most watched show Netflix has ever had, according to Forbes magazine.
The Netflix series was released on Sept. 17 and has quickly become an online craze and is currently sitting as the No. 1 show on the platform. The brutal horror series has everyone who has seen it talking about its violent yet eye-catching aesthetic non-stop, and those who haven’t seen it dodging all the spoilers. People began watching this Korean series completely unaware of how truly engulfed by its dark satire they would become.
The show focuses on Gi-hun, a divorced father and gambling addict, who lives with his mother and struggles financially to support his young daughter and repay his extensive debts. After a horrible day, Gi-hun is approached by a well-dressed young man at the subway who offers him money for participating in a game and gives him a card with a number to call if he wishes to play.
After little to no consideration Gi-hun calls the number on the card to secure his spot in the mysterious game. Gi-hun is shown being taken away to an island where he, and 455 other players awake in a large dormitory. The players sign a contract to participate in six games and start with the first game, Red Light Green Light. Players quickly learn the stakes of these childlike games and realize elimination from a game means losing their life.
After the completion and chaos of the first game, the players are shown the prize money that will be given to the last player to survive all six games. The prize money at stake is 45.6 billion Korean won, making those who did not want to continue in the games reconsider. Each of these players have reasons to value the potential prize money, no matter the risks.
Director Hwang Dong-hyuk creates a beautiful, colorful, world out of the deadly games. The exaggerated sizes and colors of the objects in each game make it seem like the players are in a real-life video game.
Hwang uses childlike games to portray the idyllic days of the character’s childhoods mixed with the wicked realism that these characters face in their day to day lives. The games themselves are nightmarish and traumatic and make losing in a traditional Korean child’s game end in the gruesome deaths of its players.
Hwang uses cliffhangers at the end of almost every suspenseful episode to entice the viewer to click on the next episode without hesitation. The episodes never feel boring or lack luster in content and are always sure to keep your attention.
A huge part of the series success is the superb acting performances that display the terror instilled by these games throughout each episode and heighten the drama perfectly. Each character undergoes tremendous trauma and some experience extensive character development.
It’s easy to become attached to the characters and it becomes evident at a breakneck pace that you could be saying goodbye to your favorite characters on any episode. In some cases, it’s not who dies but how they die that will capture your attention and have you flinching in every moment.
The series suspenseful competition, cliffhangers and shocking twists are truly enthralling throughout each episode.
The season ends with a frustrating cliffhanger that leaves viewers invested and hungry with anticipation for a potential second season.