Squid Game has been on my radar since it was released, but I just got around to starting it this past weekend. I don’t think I can accurately express how much I’m loving this short series on Netflix. It is fucking awesome.
This show is exactly my jam. Quirky. Creepy. Dark. Dramatic. Suspenseful. Bloody, but not grotesque. And thought-provoking. I even like it being in Korean with subtitles- as it gives it even more of a mysterious vibe.
I have always tended to gravitate to movies, TV shows (and books) where the protagonist is up against powerful external forces, usually with their life on the line. Like when rich people use/abuse poor people. Or the government destroys someone’s life. Or nefarious global organizations are basically hunting the character down. Think Hunger Games. Red Rising. Enemy of the State. The Bourne Identity. Running Man. Death Race. You get the picture.
It’s always an added bonus when the person’s misery is turned into a game show for the enjoyment of others. And in the case of Squid Game, having desperate adults playing childhood playground games is freaking genius.
I mean, game one is “Red Light, Green Light” where being caught for movement results in death? Brilliant!
I guess in most of the aforementioned movies, the movie shows a dystopian future State where people are forced into these games by the government/wealthy. Ans Squid Game is somewhat along these lines. I mean, there’s obviously a lot of money involved (private island, abductions, the masked cadre, the tech, the logistics) and the “games” are televised for the head Masked Man (reminiscent of General Klytus from Flash Gordon IMHO). But what makes Squid Game extra creepy as this doesn’t seem dystopian at all.
This seems very “topian”. Like, the tech and setting isn’t futuristic. It’s very now. We already have kind of cruel games where people are isolated from society and eliminated (Survivor, Big Brother, etc) all while being televised. And we pay money to watch people fight in MMA. Heck, a few years back there were “homeless fights” filmed for YouTube. So, how much of a stretch is it to have financially desperate people volunteering to participate in elimination-style kid’s games?
To me it feels like this shit is probably really happening somewhere. All while the ultra rich are laughing and chanting “dance, monkeys! Dance!”
Additionally, this show is my jam because it’s really well done. So much atmosphere. So much nuance. It’s just really well thought out. Like having all the gamekeepers masked 100% of the time. And in Barbie pink uniforms. And identified by play station shapes only, which give them hierarchy. Also the no talking for some. And the green jump suits with the number designations to dehumanize the contestants. And the oversized playground equipment and Red Light doll to further turn the adults into “kids”. And the sets being austere and creepy with harsh lighting. The main, colorless dormitory with bunk beds like a prison. Or the field for Red Light Green Light with the dead tree and dead corn..
Then there’s the disorienting Escher-esque stairs they negotiate to the game locations. Which are bright kind-friendly colors.
Even though I am only like 3 episodes in- I love it all.
And the best part? It’s a short series! There’s what- 7 or 8 episodes and it’s done. That’s perfect to me. Not a long ass, multi season affair to slog through. It hits it and quits it. Boom. Mic drop. Peace out.
Can’t wait to watch episode 4!