There is something eerily unique about consuming survival horror game cinema that is reminiscent of watching gladiators fight for their lives – blood, cruelty, and the will to stay alive are all elements that humans are strangely drawn. Voyeurs are intrigued by the human decisions made to save themselves when life and limbs are on the line, which likely explains the magnetism and success of Netflix’s new South Korean series, Squid game.
Squid game has been viewed by 111 million accounts since it debuted on Netflix on September 17, according to the streaming service. The nine-episode series ranked number one in Netflix’s Top 10 in 94 countries around the world.
Many movies or series of survival games including Squid game, are centered on the root of all evil – money. During the episodes, audiences watch desperate debtors submit to deadly games, normally played by children, in an attempt to raise a large sum of money. A bloody version of bright red-green light, tug of war, and marbles are some of the twisted games that ensue.
In Squid game and in other films like this, the rich play God, and like God, generally remain invisible to the participants. Those who hold the money, hold the power, make the rules and observe. In Squid game, the people controlling the games wear masks to conceal their identities, just as the big wigs in the series do. VIPs wear animal masks, which are a testament to the animal and dog-eating nature they perpetuate in the lower class, as they watch from a safe distance from the playing field. Unable to see the puppeteers pulling the strings, participants often feel like they have been removed from reality, which makes them more likely to act as such.
After being torn from everyday life and plunged into a tournament of death, players are completely disconnected from the real world and completely immersed in the games. Instead of names, players are called by numbers and must wear a green, numbered training uniform.
Suitors are stripped of their clothes and other items related to their identity for a reason. Stripping away pieces of their identity, such as clothing, helps players get lost and act in accordance with their new twilight environment, performing dark deeds they never imagined. Addressing players with numbers instead of names, and knowing each other little about each other, also makes it easier for competitors to take out each other than to kill a person in the real world.
If you have recently developed a taste for terror because of the binge Squid game, you’re in luck because the concepts listed above recur in the horror survival genre.
Scroll on for exciting horror survival game movies similar to Squid game that put the players’ minds, morals, muscles and will to survive to the test: