In just a matter of weeks, Squid Game has become Netflix’s biggest show, being watched and talked about by audiences worldwide. The compelling plot, which pits hundreds of competitors in Korean childhood games, has got people hooked, along with a great cast that gets you emotionally invested.
While a second season should be in the books in the near future, there are a lot of movies and shows with a similar concept that are worth watching. Here are 9 movies and shows like Squid Game that should get you out of that season finale hangover.
Arguably the movie (adapted from a book) that started it all, Battle Royale introduced the primary concept in which subsequent films and shows (and even video games) would follow. Set in a near future Japan, one class of students are chosen to participate in a government-mandated “Battle Royale” tournament to the death.
The entire cast of the film makes each confrontation compelling, keeping you on your toes all throughout. That and a well-established setting (that brilliantly explains the game in the glass-shattering opening sequence) makes Battle Royale a great starting point for similar media.
Alice in Borderland
Another Netflix show that was released a couple of months back, Alice in Borderland follows a similar premise among the shows on this list. In this show, a group of friends suddenly get transported into an empty Tokyo and suddenly have to play increasingly high stakes games in order to add more days to live.
Similar to Squid Game, the competitors are very interesting characters that will get you attached after a couple of episodes. The games themselves are also intense and will wreck you after watching, only for you to keep coming back for more. It’s also worth noting that a second season is in the books, so that’s something worth waiting for.
Anime is no stranger to having shows that involve characters in high stakes situations, and Danganronpa is no exception. A series entirely based on the same video game series, it’s about a group of ultra-talented students who get accepted into the elite Hope’s Peak Academy.
However, these students arrive in the school with some of their memories gone, with their headmaster Monokuma telling them that the only way to “graduate” is to kill each other. Unlike the free-for-all nature of Battle Royale, students in Danganronpa are given chances to investigate and find out who killed their classmates. If their accusations are right, the murderer gets executed, and the game goes on. The best part is that you can choose to play the games and experience it first-hand.
Black Mirror (15 Million Merits, Shut Up and Dance)
While Black Mirror is a series that tackles entirely different topics throughout its 5 seasons, there are two episodes that will quench your Squid Game thirst.
15 Million Merits is an episode (which stars Daniel Kaluuya of Get Out fame) that features an entire city worth of people stuck in some dystopian loop of watching and playing with the hopes of becoming a part of a talent show that feels a lot like X-Factor during the pandemic.
Shut Up and Dance, on the other hand, has a number of very problematic people participating in increasingly twisted challenges in order to keep their current lives intact. Black Mirror is a show that has a twisted story for everyone, and these two episodes should be a fun watch if you’re into more twisted games.
Upon looking at the trailer for Squid Game, it reminded me of this classic Japanese game show hosted by Takeshi Kitano (who is also the infamous host of Battle Royale). While this is a wholesome and hilarious game show, the games that are played are not too far off to something that are played in Squid Game.
While the show only had a brief run, its episodes are still entertaining enough to be broadcast across different channels and a couple of internet memes.
Do you want to play a game? If you want to see similarly high stakes of Squid Game, coupled with gory and grotesque death traps and puzzles, then the SAW films is something worth binging to keep you busy.
In SAW, the mastermind named Jigsaw selects players (most of them with troubling backgrounds) and puts them in a series of “games” that involve getting out of traps, sacrificing a few body parts, and a lot of deaths.
The best (and craziest part) is that there are 9 films in the franchise, giving you a lot of crazy challenges to see.
A work that may or may not be inspired by Battle Royale, the Hunger Games are films based on a trilogy of books of the same name. The story is set in a dystopian nation called Panem, where society is divided into 12 Districts with different social backgrounds and industries.
Each year, 2 tributes from each district will participate in the Hunger Games, a yearly tournament to the death where the winners will be set for life (with help from the Capitol). The story follows Katniss Everdeen, a tribute who eventually becomes a symbol of something bigger than the games could ever imagine.
The entire story is a crazy ride from start to finish, with action scenes that show how far tributes would go to win, and big moments with a scale not seen in many similar works.
Another anime series on this list, Juni Taisen is another action-packed anime with crazy antics, and a great cast of characters to follow. The story is about a tournament that occurs after a 12 year cycle, and features competitors from the 12 houses of the Eastern Zodiac.
Each competitor of Juni Taisen has a unique set of skills, making for some great anime fight scenes and making the tournament fun to watch. While fairly short compared to most of the shows on this list, there are enough crazy moments that will keep you hooked until the end.
Squid Game is another excellent binge-worthy show on Netflix, and with season 2 coming soon, these shows would make sure that you’re ready for another round of twisted Korean childhood games.
About the Author
A former teacher and guitarist, Jude (Twitter, Instagram) is currently a writer that covers video games and is one of the co-hosts of The Geeky Juans. Apart from hosting the podcast, you can also catch him streaming at Dude It’s Jude on Facebook.
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