The Squid Game Blew Up On Netflix, Why Did It Go Over So Well?

Hello, everyone!

Every year some movie or series comes out that becomes a phenomenon. This year, it seems that a South Korean mini-series called “Squid Game” will get the title of “Series of the Year” ahead of time. How to hide the really important meanings behind simple sets and lack of computer graphics?

There are a lot of contradictory reviews about it on the web. Someone is literally crazy about it, and some do not understand what’s so great about it.

But I would advise you to watch it, even just to make up your own opinion about it, which I did. The series is on Netflix and consists of 9 episodes.

But there’s a funny thing about it because you hear the native voices and intonations of the characters. And they are a bit unusual and hypertrophied for the unsophisticated viewer, accustomed to American cinema. It may seem that the actors sometimes overplayed, but this is a feature of Korean cinema. I would be curious to watch the series dubbed. I wonder if the dubbing actors will be able to convey their peculiarity.

· Storyline
· Characters
· The Picture
· What is it that makes this show so compelling?


The plot of the series is rather bland, the protagonist Song Ki Hoon, slacker and loser, I can not call it any other way, along with others like wretches, receives an invitation to participate in the game, at the stake of which a fabulous cash prize and along with it, your life.

You have to play games familiar to everyone from childhood for six days. Wardens led by a Master supervises order.

Like the players, they have their own set of rules. Which, however, does not prevent some individuals from breaking them.

All in all, a game of survival that would seem to have been mumbled on all sides by filmmakers of all stripes, but it is not.

There are deeper meanings hidden in The Squid Game. The main distinguishing feature from its cinematic brethren is that the people themselves voluntarily came into the game. Moreover, being able to stop it, they continue to play, knowing that most of them will die.

My opinion of the show is contradictory. I’m not going to lie, I liked it, but there are also negative aspects. This is what I want to talk about, noting the pros and cons.

To be honest, after the first series, the series did not particularly captivate me, but I persistently continued to watch. But then, I could not tear myself away. I wanted to swallow episodes, one after another.

Sometimes I squeezed into the couch from what I saw. The narrative is not drawn out. The plot is quite dynamic.

Scenario moves are quite predictable. From the first episodes, you can guess about the finale and some other moments. And the creators of the series themselves leave hints for the audience. This is, perhaps, one of the main drawbacks, too hackneyed plot twists and predictable finale, a lot of cliches and silly coincidences. But some surprises can surprise you.

The film, in general, is full of symbolism and elaborate details, leaving the viewer with room for interpretation.

For example, the characters tried so hard to guess what the next game would be; while the plot was already painted on the walls in their bedroom, it was just difficult to see it because of the many beds in the early days. In the final episodes, the attentive viewer can already see them.


Every show always has characters that I sympathize with and care about. In this show, to my surprise, there are no such characters.

And it’s not about poorly written roles, no. The point is that initially, all the people who agreed to participate in this inhuman show were not close to me. It’s hard, for example, to empathize with a loser who destroys his life with his own hands, indulges his vices instead of changing something. How can you like a protagonist who causes the only desire to crack him harder?

The saddest part is that I personally know someone like that, making this story even more realistic. There are many such characters in our reality as well.

Maybe that’s one of the things that made the series so popular around the world, to realize that all this is possible in reality, there are enough of such irresponsible and dishonest people in every country.

The show also shows more despicable characters. For example, a couple: a bandit and a mother who abandoned her newborn child for the game’s sake. I didn’t just care about them but wanted them to leave the game as soon as possible.

The only character I liked more or less was Sae Pyuk. The others were perceived rather neutrally.

This is quite atypical for me. I am an empathic person, watching any story. I am immersed in it, keenly perceive everything that is happening. I can easily shed a tear in, particularly dramatic moments, etc. Here, no matter what cruelty was going on the screen, I felt only a hint of pity.

By the way, there’s plenty of cruelty in the show.

Bullets fly left and right, blood spurts, brains explode. There are 456 players, and the prize is only for one. I know some people who don’t want to watch this show for that reason.

I would call the last episode “A Humpback Turns a Humpback”, although Koreans are hardly familiar with that proverb. There’s a certain kind of person who can’t be helped.)

The Picture

The series does not look like a high-budget one, and some scenes, in general, look frankly cheap. But despite this, the picture is very interesting in some places.

First of all because of the color. The series generally shows very well the division between regular life and the game. In the game, everything is bright and colorful, while the lives of the characters are shown mostly as-is, gray for the most part.

The composition deserves special attention. You can get a great picture out of every frame. Even taking screenshots from the trailer for this review, I didn’t have to strain at all. The stairs that the characters take to the games alone are worth it.

The musical accompaniment is also top-notch.

The writer and director of all the episodes was one man, Hwang Dong-Hyuk. It’s a rarity in contemporary series production, but in this case, it was a very successful arrangement in this case. The entire narrative looks quite dynamic and cohesive.

There are complaints about the costumes of the wardens, they are too much like Paper House, but the creators claim that this is just a coincidence.

By the way, there was a curious incident with this show. The creators didn’t bother and came up with a phone number, a call to which the game begins, at random. In the end, it turned out to be the number of a real-life person who is now bombarded with calls from pranksters with questions about how to get into the game. Some firms even offer to buy the number back from him for tens of thousands of dollars, but he won’t agree yet :)

What is it that makes this show so compelling?

It seems to me, first of all, that deep down, you know that if this were real, there would be people who would agree to participate. After all, many people seriously believe that you can lead a completely worthless life and then become rich in a second, win a billion in the lottery, rob, even kill someone, or use your feminine charms and find a rich daddy.

The most important question that the author poses to us is, what is a man ready to do for money and imaginary freedom?

Where is the fine line when a person caught in such monstrous conditions begins to lose his humanity, throws off morality, and turns into an animal, obeying only his instincts? And is it even possible to preserve humanity when your life is at stake?

Issues of equality and justice are raised. But there is a certain cunning in this. After all, equality does not equal fairness. Just as in life, the younger, stronger, more cunning, more fortunate has a better chance of winning the game.

At the same time, the author shows that the good must still win. Money is not the most important thing in life that there are more important things: the life and health of loved ones, time spent with parents and children, love, friendship.

That excessive money, as well as lack of it, does not always make a person happy. By reaching certain heights, a person ceases to feel joy and pleasure from simple things and, in search of entertainment, can go too far, transgressing all morals, principles, and even laws.

There is even a certain nostalgia of the author for his childhood and his carefree youth because not for nothing. All the games in the series were for older people. Young people did not know their rules. But we also have, as children, spent hours on the street, there were so many group games, dodgeball, robber Cossacks, hide-and-seek, Classics, Sea Waves Time, and others, of which today’s children have no idea. There are people obsessed with gambling. They are perfectly represented in the series, as well as where it may lead them.

From the minuses, I would also like to note, in my opinion, a weak police line, which leads nowhere in particular. Although, maybe it will be developed in the next season if there is one. The ending wraps up the story but gives us a chance to make a sequel, as there are still questions.

In general, the series is recommended to watch, but what emotions it will cause you, I hope to read in your comments :)

Software developer with 30 years of experience