The Korean media is taking over… Squid Games is the newest hit


Annabelle Gentling, Howler Staff Writer

 With K-pop groups such as BTS and Blackpink, Korean media has long since taken a major role in the western world.  Its high-end fashion and the way that Seoul, South Korea has taken over in its rise of tourist destinations. But the newest hit from South Korea isn’t a fashion trend or new music but… a K-drama. 

“Squid Game” is the newest hit tv show, and not just for South Korea but for the world being number one show in 90 countries per its release from “Netflix”, a Movie and Tv-show platform. Already gaining popularity with young Generations and changing the way international media is seen throughout the world.  

The game has risen in popularity due to its amazing acting and surprisingly fictional visuals. But for some people, it’s surprisingly gruesome and too violent. Given the rise in high-end video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Manhunt 2 and Custer’s Revenge” which focus on gore and violence, people have not been affected by the blood and gore. Earning a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, 96% for googles review and an 8.2 on IMDB. 

 CAUTION: Spoilers Ahead

Squid Games follows the main character, Seong Gi-Hun, who is a gambling addict, struggling to make ends meet and who lives with his mother after losing his job and failing at multiple start-up companies. He joins squid games to help with the financial burden. But the games are not all that they seem to be, there’s a surprising twist to the kid’s games that turn violent quickly. Competing against 455 players he must make it out as the 456th player. 

The action starts when Seong Gi-Hun gambles away the money his mother gave him for his daughter’s birthday. Soon, after winning in a gambling match, he meets the loan sharks to whom he owes money. He runs from them, but in the process is pickpocketed by Kang Sae-byeok, who later becomes player 67. 

The sharks catch up to him and threaten to force him to sign his organs away if he doesn’t give them their money by a certain date. After this, he becomes desperate and meets a man on the subway who promises him a 50,000 won wager if he can beat him in a card flip challenge, then he will give him money. Never one to say no to a gamble, he takes the opportunity to win. He loses quickly and repeatedly until he finally wins. He receives a card from the salesman who says that if he wants more money he should call him and enter a large game. 

Gi-Hun is in so much financial ruin that anything seems better than nothing. But what ensues is a game that he never thought he would be playing. He doesn’t gamble money anymore he gambles lives. 

The question still stands: is “Squid Games” worth the viewer’s time? While I would have to say it’s an incredible show, and it’s taking over the world, the impact it’s making is rightfully so. I do have to say if you are not a fan of gruesome endings and mass shootings, which could be major triggers towards yourself or fellow viewers. I suggest that you understand how much you can handle, and how much certain parts of the show can be triggering. 

Squid Games is a survival show, and the violence that is shown is expected from the category it represents. It is in no way meant for kids and in my opinion, shouldn’t be seen by kids at all. It contains very mature topics like sexual conduct, mass poverty, rich governing the poor and so on.  A list of trigger warnings is displayed on Netflix’s official site. 

So all in all since I personally have no problems with gore and violence, I thought that Squid Games was an excellent tv-show, with prime acting and fresh faces in a film that I had never seen before, which can be refreshing. The fact that it was set in “Squid Games” also has a feeling of otherworldliness to it, we got to see parts of the Korean world introduced to us in a film that we haven’t seen before.

I completely approve of Squid Games, and it blowing up is something that I think brought light to other forms of media aside from western films that have and deserve a place on major platforms. ”Squid Games” was eye-opening. I hope we receive another opportunity to be able to view films from different cultures more in the future.