Netflix's latest Korean offering, Squid Game, has quickly climbed the popularity charts, becoming the first Korean show to be number 1 on Netflix US. The show's fresh plotline and stunning direction have appealed to people around the world.
Squid Game is set in a world where a group of people, desperate for money, risk their lives for a huge cash prize. Based on the Japanese battle royale format, the participants take part in traditional children's games, except Squid Game takes it a notch further. The cost of failure is not just a penalty or a simple punishment, but death.
If you loved the high-stakes and moral dilemmas present in Squid Game, here are five other shows that you must watch.
5) Battle Royale
Any mention of movies that follow the battle royale format would be incomplete without the film that is considered to have created the genre. Released in 2000, Battle Royale revolutionized both the Japanese and international film industry when it came out.
An adaptation of a best-selling Japanese novel of the same name, the original dystopian survival story is set in a world where the government organizes a program called Battle Royale. Participants are chosen apparently at random, and this time the chosen ones are students of Shiroiwa Junior High School. The students are isolated on an island, which becomes an arena for them to fight it out. They have food, and a variety of weapons but what they don't have is freedom. Only one can survive in the end.
This cult classic was considered too violent at the time of its release and was banned in several countries. The ban didn't deter viewers though, and Battle Royale is considered to be one of the greatest movies of all time.
4) As the Gods Will
Director Takashi Miike's Asian Extreme masterpiece, As the Gods Will, has a premise involving children's games, similar to Squid Game.
Inspired by Battle Royale itself, the 2014 film follows a group of high school students who have to undergo a set of trials set by certain "gods" who are animated versions of Japanese dolls. The dolls don't hesitate to kill and must be appeased at all times.
Though not recommended for the faint-hearted, this bloody survival film outdoes the Netflix hit by a large margin. Watch only if you feel brave enough.
3) Alice in Borderland
Another Netflix show, this Japanese sci-fi series has been compared to Squid Game, but instead of money, the participants in this one only play for survival.
Alice in Borderland tells the story of three gamers, who are transported to an alternate universe, where they are trapped in an arena. The only way out is to take part in some deadly games to load their "visas" or else they will die.
The games are divided based on playing cards: spades mean strength, clubs signify team battles, hearts are for games of betrayal, while diamonds are for a battle of wit.
Love the idea of getting to live in a utopia where everyone is rich and happy? What if the only way to do it is by killing 97% of your friends?
The Brazilian dystopian thriller, 3% takes place in a future where most of the population lives in poverty. There's only one way out for 20-year-olds: taking part in a series of tests. But these are no simple tests. The passing rate is only 3%. And failure means death.
If the mystery and sci-fi aspect of Squid Game was the main attraction, this one is a must-watch.
1) The Belko Experiment
Imagine the Squid Game, but the arena is your office, and the participants are your coworkers. Monday morning blues not looking so bad now?
That's the plot of The Belko Experiment. The 2017 film, directed by Greg McLean converts the mundane into the horrific. An ordinary office day takes a violent turn when 80 employees of the Belko Corporation realize they're just pawns in a deadly game. Trapped in the office building, the employees are informed that two of their coworkers must be killed within 30 minutes, or else 60 will die. The choice of person and the method is left to them. As factions start being formed, so do betrayals. In the end only the strongest remain unscathed, but only until the next round.
Several people have compared Squid Game to this film, with some believing that this does the Battle Royale format better by turning the ordinary into horror beyond comparison.