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5 Movies to Watch if You Enjoyed ‘Squid Game’

If you haven’t heard about Squid Game by now, you most definitely live under a rock. The Netflix original series has had people across the world absolutely entranced, and I’m definitely one of the many people firmly trapped within its clutches. Even with its seemingly unrealistic and dystopian elements, it is undoubtedly a provocative revelation of global wealth inequality and the consequences of capitalism. If that’s your thing, never fear, there’s so much more wonderful content out there. Keep scrolling down this (hopefully useful) list for some of my favorite examples of Squid Games-esque cinema!

Warning: Almost all of the movies on this list contain graphic scenes or content that could be triggering. Please look up every movie on this website before watching them! Always remember to be mindful of your mental health.

Battle Royale (2000)

This dystopian action-thriller classic revolves around the lives of 42 students abducted by their middle school teacher and forced to battle each other and take one another’s lives until only one of them survives. Like Squid Game, Battle Royale is a survival drama in which a leader brings a group of people together and forces them to participate in a morbid game of life and death. The characters are constantly required to deal with feelings of confusion, guilt, and horror as they make their way through the “game” — albeit with more melodrama than Squid Game. If you enjoyed Squid Game’s intense, anxiety-inducing gory-survival game trope, Battle Royale is definitely a must-watch.

Sorry To Bother You (2018)

Sorry To Bother You is a dark comedy film centered around the life of a Black telemarketer who “acts white” in order to become more successful in his workplace. As he becomes more successful, he gradually unearths some dark secrets about the corporate lifestyle he has become immersed in. Other than the obvious themes of wealth inequality and anti-capitalism, one similarity that stood out to me was how alike the characters’ moral dilemmas are. Much like Gi-hun (Squid Game), Cash (Sorry to Bother You) is a well-meaning but helpless man conflicted between his need for money and his personal beliefs. While the characters in Sorry To Bother You are not explicitly required to play a game, it does seem as though the lives of the characters are being toyed with constantly. If you enjoyed Squid Game for its social commentary, quirky humor, and epic visuals, you need to watch Sorry To Bother You next.

Beasts Clawing At Straws (2020)

Beasts Clawing At Straws is a South Korean black comedy focused on two main subjects: the difficult circumstances of its three main characters and a Louis Vuitton bag filled with cash. The movie begins with one of the main characters chancing upon the bag, and things only get increasingly crazier from that moment on. Soon, the lives of the three characters start to overlap in the most bizarre ways, and the greed for wealth fueling them leads to some pretty chaotic and violent theatrical sequences. Like Squid Game, Beasts Clawing At Straws is constantly full of action and liberally sprinkled with rich moments of dark comic relief.

Demons / Shura (1971)

Demons is a drama based on Kamikakete Sango taisetsu, a Japanese Kabuki play published in the 19th century. The plot is centered around the actions of an exiled samurai given a second chance to join his fellow samurai. In order to do so, he must collect 100 ryo, which his loyal servant does for him. However, a greedy geisha who he is in love with claims to have fallen in love with him as well. Consequently, she tricks him into spending all the money on her and thereafter abandons the samurai. The rest of the tale slowly develops into one of complete horror as the samurai embarks on a bloody (but ultimately futile) mission of revenge. Like Squid Game, Demons features characters dealing with complex moral decisions and psychological conflicts, except it’s entirely in black and white and (unsurprisingly) happens to feature more elements of traditional Japanese theatrics.

Us (2018)

Us is probably one of the most prominent critically acclaimed films released in the year 2019, and in general, probably one of the most culturally significant movies of all time. At first glance, it seems like an exceptionally made horror movie, which it undoubtedly is, but a closer look at its subtext reveals that it’s so much more than just a horror movie. The film is about the lives of a family of four who go on a vacation only to be attacked by a family that appears physically identical to them, but threatening and dangerous in every other way. Us is often interpreted as a commentary on capitalism and the darker sides of human existence, especially as a consequence of inequality and oppression in the United States. The family’s threatening and dangerous doppelgängers are manifestations of marginalized members of society, cast aside and forced to succumb to poverty, while the “real” family lives a comfortable and happy life. Both Us and Squid Game are provocative and intentionally socially-conscious, and both do a terrifyingly great job of blurring the line between horror and reality.

Honorable mentions: The Lobster (2016), Akira (1988) and Parasite (2019)

These are just some of the wonderful movies out there that resemble Squid Game either in terms of their premise or just their overall vibes. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I truly hope you find something for you here!

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Madhura Sengupta

U Mass Amherst '23

Madhura is a sophomore majoring in Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She loves film, music, literature, discussions about social issues, and 1990s animated TV series Moomin.
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