REview: Squid Game (2021) | Title Notwithstanding, it’s a Damn Good Watch

With a title like ‘Squid Game’ I can understand how someone might be turned off because if you go in expecting to see even one cephalopod you’re going to be disappointed.

Though if you’re looking for a thriller with serious horror overtones evocative of such fare like The Prisoner (1967), Battle Royale (2000) and The Belko Experiment (2016) you’re likely to enjoy Squid Game.

This Game Is No Game

The story revolves around Seong Gi Hoon (Lee Jung Jae), a gambling addict who is pretty much the dictionary definition of ‘loser’ till one day he’s given a chance to play a game that if he wins would not only enable him to care for his ailing mother, but pay off his numerous debts because the prize is more money than most people earn in four or five lifetimes, never mind one.

Unfortunately, the game is one of life and death as hundreds of people are playing against Gi Hoon and only one can win, though Gi Hoon not only has to deal with occasionally murderous fellow contestants, but the mysterious person known as the Front Man, who’s motives are as obscure as his ebon mask.

The Front Man

What is the motivation behind the game – since as I mentioned the winner will take home a king’s ransom – and who does the Front Man answer to?

These and other questions will be answered by the end of Squid Game‘s nine episode first season and if they don’t have you waiting with baited breath for season two you’re a stronger person than I am.

I should also mention that also what makes it such a fascinating series is that it remains Korean through and through and doesn’t seem to try to adapt to American tastes, which is to say at at one moment it’s really odd and quirky, in another heartfelt and gentle, and another brutal with violence that while never tasteless, borders on hyperviolence.

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