By Samantha Holmes
You’ve watched all the cheesy rom coms Netflix provides (trust me, there’s a lot), have just finished binge watching Lucifer, Sex Education has been and gone and now you have just rewatched the entire Money Heist series worrying that Netflix has nothing else to offer.
Well, don’t sweat. Squid Game is the ultimate cliff-hanging watch you need to know about. In fact, if you don’t know about it already, where have you been?
A disturbing psychological horror series set in Korea, which requires 456 financially struggling individuals to take part in six children’s games to win a tempting prize of ₩45.6 billion (£28.5m). The chilling twist is they either succeed or die trying – a gruelling watch for some but trust me it is addictive.
Squid Game director Hwang-Dong-hyuk reflected on the show’s immediate success with Yonhap: “It’s just a surprise. It’s incredible that all this craze happened within a week, as a creator, I’m so thrilled that my work has caught the hearts of people all around the world. It might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Despite having almost no marketing to support its release, the series was the first Netflix series to reach 111m global accounts in its first 28 days on the platform. One reason for this is how the audience can relate towards the resentment felt by the characters towards the modern capitalist society and its economic inequalities portrayed in the show.
This comes as no surprise as the audience themselves are still trying to recover from the financial and mental anguish caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite each episode lasting just an hour, it’s almost impossible to refrain from clicking that “next episode” button with the nail-biting plot twists and ever-escalating stakes at risk, making it the ultimate-binge watch.
Alongside this, like any smash-hit series, the superb acting performances from Lee Jung-jae as the incompetent yet kind-hearted protagonist Seong Gi-hun, whom we feel empathetic towards and Yeong-su Oh as the fragile Oh Il-nam (player 001) who we want to protect at all costs. These skilled actors draw you in from the very beginning.
However, the most memorable acting performance is from former model HoYeon Jung who played the North Korean pick pocketer Kang Sae-byeok. Since the show premiered, Jung has gained a staggering 20m followers, making her the most-followed South Korean actress on Instagram. And it’s not only the acting world that she has taken by storm – becoming the new global ambassador for Louis Vuitton, the face of Adidas’ latest campaign and partnering with Fendi for the SS22 collection.
Speaking to Teen Vogue, Jung explained her rapid rise to stardom: “I’m trying to see people that are very close to me so that I can stay grounded. At the same time, I also try to feel grateful for every person who made this series possible.”
Still unsure about Squid Game? Well, I can guarantee that this Netflix sensation isn’t just another one-hit-wonder. Since its debut, Squid Game has become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring fashion, art and culture, with the hashtag “#SquidGame” having been viewed more than 22.8 billion times on TikTok.
According to Lyst, searches for retro-inspired tracksuits, slip-on trainers and numbered t-shirts have all soared, with interest in tracksuits doubling and searches for red boiler suits increasing by 64%. Fashion brand Boohoo also reported searches ‘Squid Game costumes’ had heightened by 9400% since the shows release.
The show has also inspired viewers to try Korean food, with HelloFresh revealing searches for ‘Korean Cuisine’ has skyrocketed by 550% in Britain, and ‘dalgona’ candy (a honeycomb treat seen on the show) searches soaring by 1650% on Google.
So, if you’re looking for a last-minute Halloween costume or wanting to incorporate Korean cuisine into your meals, Squid Game has got you covered.