Netflix’s new series, Squid Game, was released last Sept 17 in time for the nation to make it their latest weekend binge. The story follows a group of people financially struggling in life who participate in a mysterious survival competition. Players play traditional Korean games with their lives on the line with the sole victor being promised KRW 45.6 billion (PHP 1.9 billion). As expected, it’s an intense edge-of-your-seat experience. It even has a Gong Yoo cameo at one point which was totally cool and unexpected.
Squid Game ranks as number one in the Philippines’ current Top 10 shows. And if you’ve finished bingeing the entire thing and you want more, we’ve got recommendations for you. Here are other series and movies with the same premise of twisted humanity, sickening games, and taking advantage of the poor. I mean, if that’s right up your alley.
Alice in Borderland (2020)
Cast: Kento Yamazaki, Tao Tsuchiya, Yūki Morinaga, Keita Machida
While Squid Game has an overall intense premise, Alice in Borderland takes it a notch higher. We’re not exaggerating when we say every episode will leave your heart pumping or your emotions all over the place. In Alice in Borderland, a trio of friends living in Tokyo suddenly find the bustling city empty. They follow signs that lead them to a “game arena.” Pretty soon it becomes clear that some “higher being” has trapped them in a game where they’re forced to play gruesome games to win or die trying. It’s available on Netflix.
Battle Royale (2000)
Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarō Yamamoto
Battle Royale is a Japanese classic 1999 novel that was later adapted into a grisly film. Two films, to be exact. It’s the kind of movie elementary students pass around in pirated CDs and then develop nightmares after watching. The story is about a group of high school students forced by the Japanese totalitarian government to fight each other to the death until only a lone survivor remains. Battle Royale: Requiem was released three years later, in 2003, but was met with negative criticism.
As the Gods Will (2014)
Cast: Sota Fukushi, Hirona Yamazaki, Ryūnosuke Kamiki
Gore, horror, supernatural. Leave it to the Japanese to permanently scar you with their movies. As the Gods Will is a 2014 film where high school students are forced to play classic Japanese games at the cost of their lives. One iconic scene is likened to Squid Game‘s Red Light, Green Light game. Students have to press the button on the back of a supernatural murderous Daruma doll. But when it turns to face them and it catches them moving, they die gruesome deaths. Throughout the day, different students participate in different traditional games designed to weed out the weak from the strong.
3% (2016 – 2020)
Cast: Vaneza Oliveira, João Miguel, Bianca Comparato
Squid Game participants enter the games to pay off debts and live a better life, the characters from Netflix-produced 3% can relate. This Brazilian thriller series where the disadvantaged people from “Inland” have the opportunity to complete “The Process” so they can be sent to the paradise that is “Offshore” society. Candidates are subjected to different tests, tensions are high, and everyone is at each other’s throats. Watch it on Netflix.
Ready or Not (2019)
Cast: Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O’Brien
Ready or Not is a dark comedy-action film that has soon-to-be brides questioning just how much they know about their fiancé’s family. In the film, a bride’s wedding night turns into a nightmare when her new in-laws force her to play a deadly game of hide and seek. Fair warning, this is one for those edge-of-your-seat flicks, albeit an underrated one, and you should steer clear of friends whose habit is slapping or pinching their seatmates.
Cast: Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Juliette Lewis
Players in Nerve participate in an online game of truth or dare that is fun at first but soon takes on a deadly turn. As the stunts they need to pull off get increasingly difficult, the players have to outwit the “watchers,” or those who decide what they do, in order to live. The lesson? Never participate in shady online games no matter how fun it looks.
Cast: Maurice Dean Wint, Nicole de Boer, David Hewlett
This 1997 sci-fi horror film is a cult classic where six strangers wake up in a giant cube. They have to work together to survive a maze of endless traps. Of course, they won’t all make it out alive. This movie was so successful, it had a sequel, Cube 2: Hypercube (2002) followed by a prequel, Cube Zero (2004). It’s even set for a Japanese remake slated for release on Oct 22, 2021 (and you just know it’s going to be even gorier because it’s Japan).
The Hunger Games (2012 – 2015)
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks
Asians aren’t the only ones who can play twisted human games, white people can do it too. Many argue that Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy and its movie adaptations are too similar to Battle Royale. We’ve got a government that sacrifices its constituents in the guise of “good fun” but is actually meant to keep them in check. We’ve got two survivors by the end instead of the supposed one victor. But we’re not complaining. Hunger Games is another cult classic you’ll like if you love the concept of twisted humanity.