OPINION

Conflicted over the hyper-violent hit Netflix series Squid Game

The masked guards of Netflix really punish those contestants who don't finish on Squid Game.
The masked guards of Netflix really punish those contestants who don't finish on Squid Game.

Squid Game is the hot new Netflix series that I feel a little guilty for enjoying so much.

For anyone without Netflix Squid Game is a TV series from South Korea where people who are hard up for money agree to participate in a secretive game on a mysterious island.

When they get there, they're told they can win a huge amount of money if they're the last one standing at the end of a series of children's games.

I mean "last one standing" in a very literal sense - anyone who doesn't complete a game is killed by masked machine-gun wielding guards. With every death, the cash prize for the eventual winner gets bigger.

It's all that shooting that unnerves me a little - just because it feels a little gratuitous.

Sure, we see people being shot in action films and war movies all the time. But in those instances, it's usually the bad guys being shot. Or, in the case of a war movie where some of the good guys get shot, it comes as a dramatic moment.

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In Squid Game, the body count just keeps climbing and it seems relentless. In the very first game - red light, green light - a large number of people get machine-gunned down without a second thought.

With very few exceptions, it's not done off-camera. Rather, we see the masked guards walk up to the losing contestants and simply pull the trigger.

It's the high level of gratuitous death that makes me feel conflicted over enjoying the show. Because, despite that, I am actually enjoying the show.

As I've been watching the show I have had time to ask myself why. I think it's because of the build -up of tension and the fact the show doesn't play favourites.

With around 150 contestants at the start, the narrative obviously has to focus in on a few of them. With the knowledge there can only be one winner, it's not a spoiler to say that some of those focal characters will end up being killed off.

The tension comes from not knowing who will be left standing at the end of each episode.

I'm trying to spread the episodes out rather than binge-watch, so I don't know what happens to most of the main characters.

Also, that helps to avoid an overload of all that gratuitous violence.

This story Conflicted over the hyper-violent hit Netflix series Squid Game first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.