With lockdown in full swing and a bleak summer ahead of us (RIP Bay Dreams), Netflix has become the procrastinating student’s solace now more than ever. When so many of us are doom scrolling our social media, it’s hard to avoid or even ignore the hype and attention that Hwang Dong-Hyuk’s Squid Game has garnered. The Korean series presents a modern nostalgic twist on the classic death game genre with contestants participating in six rounds inspired by traditional Korean childhood games. With a hefty prize of nearly $55 million (NZD), it’s hard to imagine what any of us would do — other than buy a house in Auckland.
When I first watched the series, it was obvious that Squid Game was a victim of its genre. The betrayal, the mentoring, the slow loss of humanity are all things that have been explored from Lord of the Flies to Battle Royale. However, that is not to say Squid Game is boring. At its very core, Squid Game is entertaining. For those with an interest in the death game genre, it can even be an immersive viewing experience. The folly of Squid Game being on Netflix is that any film guy you meet is bound to compare it to the only other Korean media they know, Parasite. As if they deserve a trophy for reading subtitles. Much gets lost in translation (literally).
“Hoyeon Jung could end me.”