Source: Wall Street Journal
Seemingly out of nowhere, a brutal nine-part Netflix drama-thriller called Squid Game has struck a nerve in pop culture through its dark rendition on cheerful childhood games such as tug of war and red light, green light, which, in the show, are played to the death for huge cash prizes.
Squid Game is a bracingly violent Netflix series that has drawn comparisons from highly recognized survival thrillers such as Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and Saw. Mashed with the non-English hit movie Parasite, the emerging series is an exercise in class warfare, in which a crew of South Koreans, who are all mired in debt, are lured to a remote island where they are to play a brutal string of childhood games in exchange of a huge chunk of money that may allow the winner to pay off their debts and live a happy and comfortable life. Beginning with a gruesome game of red light, green light, Squid Game is taking the survival thriller genre to another level.
Created by a widely acclaimed South Korean director, Hwang Dong-hyuk, Squid Game, which debuted on Netflix last September 17, has made waves across social media for its eye-popping gore and nail-biting tension, not to mention its razor-sharp portrayal of inequality and economic exploitation in contemporary Korea. While each of the six games provides the most thrilling and hair-raising tense sequences in the show, the richly drawn participants, and their brilliant performances, have made Squid Game such a hit. Artistically conveyed by some of the country’s biggest stars, Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae Soo, together with emerging artists such as top model HoYeon Jung and Wi Ha-joon, Squid Game is not like any other run-of-the-mill gory dystopian series.
Although Squid Game may appear as an expensive, top-of-the-line quality series, the South Korean show only costs $21.4 million to produce—about $2.4 million per episode—making other streaming platforms eager to explore international production. As a matter of fact, other companies, such as Disney, have begun to step up production efforts across Asia and abroad. With Netflix vowing to achieve international growth in the coming years, the streaming giant has planned to invest more in the Korean entertainment space, investing over $500 million in content alone.
“More than 14 billion videos with the hashtag #SquidGame have appeared on TikTok since the show premiered September 17 on Netflix. Now it’s being hyped as the platform’s top streaming series in the US and dozens of other countries—quickly becoming a time-sucking trending topic on Twitter and Instagram, too,” shared a New York Post critic. Surprisingly, the trailblazing series took about a decade before it was given a chance to reach impressive heights. From the creator’s drawing board to the screens of many viewers worldwide, Squid Game has come a long way to be acknowledged in the international arena. The moment it was released on the popular streaming platform, it garnered over $900 million in impact value, with more than 130 million viewers watching the show. With plans to perpetuate the tension in this intriguing survival thriller series, Squid Game shows the promise of a season 2 in the works.