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Financial debt and the “sea”: Squid Game review.

**This article is free from spoilers**

Squid Game on Netflix. Image credit- BBC Music Magazine.

How far would you go to escape financial debt? Would you risk your life for $38 million? Creator Hwang Dong-hyuk dives into this idea in his hit show, Squid Game. With 1 season comprising 9 episodes on Netflix, it shows, “Hundreds of cash-strapped players [who] accept a strange invitation to compete in children’s games”.

“Inside, a tempting prize awaits — with deadly high stakes.” According to an article from The Hollywood Reporter, Hwang had been developing this idea since 2008, writing the first script for a feature-length film in 2009. However, it was rejected by Korean studios for being too violent and “conceptually improbable.” Ten years after Hwang began writing Squid Game, Netflix gave Hwang the green light to begin production of the series, and it was released on September 17th, 2021.

Starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, HoYeon Jung, and Yeong-su Oh, Squid Game takes place in Seoul, Korea, where Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae) resides with his mother. Gi-hun narrates the opening minutes of the show, describing the childhood game of Squid Game itself. The show involves contestants playing a number of children’s Korean games, some that are unfamiliar to global audiences, but Hwang does a wonderful job displaying the games to viewers. Gi-hun, along with countless others, tries his hardest to master and complete the games presented to him, all while being led by masked, mysterious people.

Featuring music composed by Jung Jae-il, Squid Game offers to be viewed in numerous ways, including the original Korean dialogue with English subtitles, the English dubbed dialogue, or any of the other 37 subtitle options or 34 dubbed languages.

The infamous “Red light, Green light” doll from Squid Game. Image credit- Netflix/Parade.

In whatever way one feels comfortable starting the show, now is the perfect time to jump right in. With just over a month of being on Netflix, Squid Game is currently the streaming service’s “biggest series ever at launch,” as Netflix told CNN. According to CNN, Squid Game has been viewed by 111 million accounts since its debut (compared to 82 million accounts that viewed Bridgerton in its first 28 days).

Furthermore, the series sits at number 1 on Netflix’s Top 10 lists in 94 countries around the world, and it’s Netflix’s first Korean series to hit number 1 in the United States. On rotten tomatoes it holds a 93%, and has a rating of 8.1/10 on IMDb. Unsurprisingly, with the passing of Halloween, dozens of costumes could be found relating to the popular show, from characters that played the game to aspects of the games played.

This new part of pop culture has become one filled with memes, celebrity interviews, and overall conversation. Be warned: Squid Game does hold a mature rating due to violence, frequent smoking, swearing, and sexual instances. This show is not for children or those with a light stomach. Otherwise, join the millions of others who have found the series, and let Squid Game put you in a dystopia you’ve never seen before.

From L-R: HoYeon Jung, Lee Jung-jae and Kimm Joo-ryeong, cast members of Squid Game. Image credit- Netflix/Showbiz Cheat Sheet.

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