“Squid Game” captivates audiences with exciting characters and unique plot

Squid Game was released in Sept. 2021 and is now streaming on Netflix

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“Squid Game” was released in Sept. 2021 and is now streaming on Netflix

The best word to describe “Squid Game” is raw. The show is successfully unfiltered and goes all out in its concept, characters and pacing.

“Squid Game” follows Gi-Hun (Lee Jung-jae), a pathetic divorced father who lives in constant fear of violent loan sharks. That is, until he gets an invitation to the Squid Games, where South Koreans who are deep in debt compete in deadly versions of Korean kids’ games to win a ludicrous amount of money.

“Squid Game” is best experienced with the original Korean dialogue and English subtitles. The dub has become famous for its bad lip-syncing, horrible casting, pitiful acting and even changing lines in certain scenes. This is probably the biggest issue with the show, and it is holding back a lot of people, especially those with learning disabilities like dyslexia, from experiencing the show properly.

That is a shame, because “Squid Game” is captivating from start to finish. Characters are exciting and, most importantly, play off of each other perfectly. The harsh environment they are all under creates interesting dynamics and depictions of human nature in times of crisis. I personally was highly enthralled by the thuggish Deuk-Su (Heo-Sung Tae), who is not just unlikeable for his violence, but also for his multi-episode manipulation and top-notch acting that truly makes the character devilish.

The show came out in September 2021 and is streaming on Netflix. It consists of nine episodes, each around an hour long in length. This allows for an episode to include a variety of different scenes, interactions and plot points without having to tie it up for the credits. “Squid Game” keeps up a fun, steady pace throughout each episode, apart from the slight rushing in the finale and an intentionally slower time in episode two.

You cannot bring up “Squid Game” without also mentioning the violence. From the first game, where contestants play a version of Red Light, Green Light, where they are shot if caught. The show is gory and does not hold back. Every episode has some degree of blood and violence. From gunshots, to knife duels, to falling from great heights, there is always the threat of blood. It personally never overwhelmed me as it is built up to in each episode.

Each episode, with its hefty length, kept me engaged with new, exciting ideas and interactions. You truly get to know these characters, root for them, mourn them, pray for their downfall and so much more. Each actor gives it their all, and the script makes the reactions to the unreal and gruesome scenes seem realistic, which is no easy feat.

“Squid Game” is an international success and a trend setter. Stocks are skyrocketing at studios that can make similar Korean dramas, and a whole new era of streaming shows has commenced in its wake. And if even just a few of these new projects are of the quality of Squid Game, we are in for some good stuff.