Squid Game: 456 Stars Out Of 10

A look into Netflix’s popular thriller series

Elaine Thimyan, Reporter

“Squid Game” has made its way to not only Netflix’s Top 10 list, but also as a top 10 TV series amongst fans.

“Squid Game” is a Korean made drama and thriller series that started getting popular in the west around the middle of October. The series was written by Hwang Dong-hyuk, who had been rejected for more than a decade for the script being too grotesque; but his work finally paid off. The show has been subtitled in 31 languages and dubbed in at least 13. 

The show follows the protagonist of Seong Gi-Hun, a struggling father trying to get out of accumulating debt. On his way home after losing a bet, he’s introduced to the possibility of getting money for playing games. After mulling it over, he decides to take up the offer.

Entering the first game, Seong thinks the same thing as everyone else who is participating: that being eliminated from the games means you get to leave. Not quite. It isn’t until the first person who moves during a red light, green light game do we see them get shot by machine rifles. 

Now the stakes are pushed up as each person in these games needs the 456 million won to get out of the debt they owe, but can they survive? Meanwhile, police officer Hwang Jun-Ho goes undercover in the facility trying to find his missing brother. Little does he know about the horrors he will witness.

The stunning visuals of the series are impossible to miss. The color palette not only reflects the characters, but it makes a jarring contrast between the characters and their environment. The staircase room is especially visually pleasing and symmetrical. 

The visuals go hand-in-hand with the set. With each new game comes a new set. We have the memorable red light green light doll, the giant playground with the honeycomb challenge and the beautiful circus-like game with the windows bridge. The set gets more complex as the games progress, symbolizing the intensity for the players, and for the audience. Perhaps more memorable than the red light green light doll, the small town set of the marble game has quickly made its way to one of the most memorable episodes and games. Each character was set to pick a partner, trying to stick with people they trust. The players are all shocked when they’re told there can only be one winner between the two. It’s a heartbreaking episode that really solidifies the characters and riles up the anticipation of who will get out. Faced with moral dilemmas, the audience is enticed to keep watching even when they want to look away. Even if they did, the music would tell them all they needed to know. 

The music was also very well done. The motif that plays between Player 1, or Oh il-nam, and player 456, Seong Gi-hun, hits right in the feels every single time. The score that plays during the pink men’s entrance is iconic and chilling. Sound is such an important aspect of this show. It sells the acting and really puts the characters in their setting and makes it feel more real.

The acting is also beyond believable. The cast works very well together and they all sell their parts beautifully. A famous clip of HoYeon Jung, who plays player 67, otherwise known as Kang Saebyoek, has circulated the internet of the actress crying even after filming. The scene that appeared to be filmed was episode 6 when Kang is shaking player 420, a girl 67 got close during the round. Not only are these characters fleshed out, each having believable reasons for needing the money, but the dynamics they form come to be just as investing and well crafted. Each relationship was thought out and didn’t have any duos that weakened the believability of the story. 

All in all, the show is well deserved of the hype, but it’s easy to understand why some avoid it due to its graphic content. This show is definitely worth the watch, even if you only watch it once.