SQUID Game, which is currently Netflix’s number one show globally, follows debt-ridden contestants who volunteer to take part in a deadly series of children’s games to win millions of dollars.
The success of the unusually named Korean show may seem unlikely, and some viewers have have been left sickened by the gory scenes in the horror thriller series.
Yet commentators have been wowed by the drama’s ‘masterful cliffhangers.’
They have also praised the moral dilemmas that occur throughout.
The high-concept drama sees 456 debt-ridden contestants from all walks of life volunteer to compete in six playground games.
There’s some brutal small print, however – if they lose, they die.
The first episode of the nine-part series, which has been compared to the Hunger Games trilogy and cult Japanese film Battle Royale, sees the contestants play Grandma’s Footsteps.
Viewers were soon stunned to see the bodies pile high as the traumatised winning contestants progressed to round two.
One wrote: "Watched the first and second episode of Squid's Game today and almost puked my guts out but let's do this."
Another wrote: "I didn't think Squid's Game would have me vomiting and crying."
A third posted: "I can't deal with Squid's Game…crying, screaming and being sick all at the same time."
In one scene, a woman is covered in blood after a fellow contestant is shot in the head.
Described as a horrifying version of Takeshi’s Castle, the dystopian show sheds light on staggering wealth inequalities in Korean society.
But it’s a theme which audiences around the world can relate
Masked assassins patrol the arenas where the games take place, shooting contestants who fail.
The unlikely heroes of Squid Game include Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), a divorcee who is in serous trouble with a loan shark thanks to his gambling addiction.
He’s approached by a man at a train station, and offered the chance to win a sum of money that will change his life.
Gi-hun is then drugged, waking up in a grim dormitory alongside hundreds of other people, who are all awaiting their turn to take part in the fatal games.
Joining Gi-hun is his friend, disgraced banker Cho Sang-woo (Park Hae-soo), who is on the run from the police, and North Korean escaper Kang Sae-byeok (Jung Ho-yeon), who is competing in the games to try and save her family.
The show culminates with the eponymous Squid Game, as protagonist Gi-hun is told he has to kill his childhood friend Sang-woo in order to win the massive jackpot.
Graphic scenes of murder, and even organ harvesting, have turned some viewers off, but others have persevered because the show is so addictive.
Squid Game is available on Netflix now.
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