TV Review: Squid Game (2021)

Original Run: September 17th, 2021 (all episodes)
Created by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Directed by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Written by: Hwang Dong-hyuk
Music by: Jung Jae-il
Cast: Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, Kim Joo-ryoung, Lee Byung-hun

Siren Pictures Inc., Netflix, 9 Episodes, 32-63 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

I couldn’t avoid watching this any longer because of two reasons: the hype and because everyone was talking about it that if I didn’t watch it, the show would’ve been spoiled for me. So, this leapfrogged other shows I had in my queue first because I wanted to see it without it being ruined.

Overall, I did enjoy this but it didn’t blow me away. It’s become a mega-phenomenon almost instantaneously but I found it to be derivative of several things I’ve seen before. And I don’t mean that as a knock but those seeing this as a fresh concept, probably just haven’t watched enough movies.

Hell, in a lot of ways, this is Saw sequel with a much larger group, more appealing surroundings and a cash prize instead of just winning your right to continue living. Then again, that’s also exactly what the prize allows the winner to do, get a fresh chance at life with a new outlook, regardless of how fucked up the journey was.

There’s a big “twist” at the end too, where you discover who is behind this game and why they created it. None of it is all that shocking or surprising and if you’ve digested enough stories similar to this, you can arrive at these answers on your own. It’s honestly, lowest common denominator stuff and I was pretty disappointed in this reveal, as I had hoped the show would’ve thrown a legit curveball, knowing that many probably already thought that this was just a game to entertain the richest people, as the players are just disposable cattle or as the show puts it: race horses being gambled on for kicks.

All that being said, I still mostly enjoyed this because of the characters and their personal stories. Sure, I knew good people would do bad things and that terrible people would be the absolute worst. However, the show does make you care about these people and that’s really the only thing that holds it all together.

In the end, I hope that this stays a miniseries and that Netflix doesn’t try to convince the creator to make more. It’ll just go downhill from here and it’s always best to quit while you’re ahead. But c’mon, man… this is Hollywood. We’re definitely going to get more based off of how this show exploded in popularity, almost immediately.

Rating: 8/10