Squid Game (Korean: 오징어 게임; RR: Ojing-eo Geim) is a South Korean survival drama Written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, it stars Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon, O Yeong-su, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, and Kim Joo-ryoung.
The series revolves around a contest in which 456 players, all drawn from different walks of life but each deeply in debt, play a series of children’s games with deadly penalties if they lose for the chance to win a ₩45.6 billion prize.
Seong Gi-hun, a divorced and indebted chauffeur, is invited to play a series of children’s games for a chance at a large cash prize. Accepting the offer, he is taken to an unknown location where he finds himself among 455 other players who are also deeply in debt.
The players are made to wear green tracksuits and are kept under watch at all times by masked guards in pink jumpsuits, with the games overseen by the Front Man, who wears a black mask and black uniform.
The players soon discover that losing a game results in their death, with each death adding ₩100 million to the potential ₩45.6 billion grand prize.Gi-hun allies with other players, including his childhood friend Cho Sang-woo, to try to survive the physical and psychological twists of the games.
- Lee Jung-jae as Seong Gi-hun , a chauffeur and a gambling addict, he lives with his mother and struggles to support his daughter financially. He participates in the Game to settle his many debts and to prove himself to be financially stable to get the custody of his daughter before she leaves for the US.
- Park Hae-soo as Cho Sang-woo, the head of the investment team at a securities company, he is junior to Gi-hun and was a gifted student who studied at Seoul National University, but is now wanted by the police for stealing money from his clients. He was under billions of debt and even mortgaged off his mother’s place.
- Wi Ha-joon as Hwang Jun-ho, a police officer who sneaks into the Game as a guard to find his missing brother.
- Jung Ho-yeon as Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector who enters the Game to pay for a broker to find and retrieve her surviving family members who are still across the border. She wants to live in a house with her younger brother and mother.
- O Yeong-su as Oh Il-nam, an elderly man with a brain tumor who prefers playing the Game as opposed to waiting to die in the outside world.
- Heo Sung-tae as Jang Deok-su, a gangster who enters the Game to settle his massive gambling debts.
- Anupam Tripathi as Abdul Ali, a foreign worker from Pakistan, who enters the Game to provide for his young family after his employer refuses to pay him for months.
- Kim Joo-ryoung as Han Mi-nyeo, a mysterious and manipulative woman who claims to be a poor single mother.
- Yoo Sung-joo as Byeong-gi (111), a doctor who secretly works with a group of corrupt guards to traffic the organs of dead participants in exchange for information on upcoming games.
- Lee Yoo-mi as Ji-yeong (240), a young woman who was just released from prison after killing her abusive father.
- Kim Si-hyun as Player 244, a pastor who rediscovers his faith during the Game.
- Lee Sang-hee as Player 017, a glass-maker with more than 30 years’ experience.
- Kim Yun-tae as Player 069, a player who joins the Game with his wife, Player 070.
- Lee Ji-ha as Player 070, a player who joins the Game with her husband, Player 069.
- Kwak Ja-hyoung as Player 278, a player who joins Deok-su’s group and acts as his henchman.
- Chris Chan as Player 276, a player who joins Seong Gi-hun’s group in the Tug of War round.
- Kim Young-ok as Gi-hun’s mother
- Cho Ah-in as Seong Ga-yeong, Gi-hun’s daughter
- Kang Mal-geum as Gi-hun’s ex-wife and Ga-yeong’s mother
- Park Hye-jin as Sang-woo’s mother
- Park Si-wan as Kang Cheol, Sae-byeok’s younger brother
- Gong Yoo as a salesman who recruits participants for the Game (Episodes 1 and 9)
- Lee Byung-hun as The Front Man / Hwang In-ho (Episodes 8–9)
- Lee Jung-jun as Guard (Episode 3
- Geoffrey Giuliano as VIP #4 (Episode 7)
English dub cast
- Greg Chun as Seong Gi-hun
- Stephen Fu as Cho Sang-woo
- Paul Nakauchi as Jang Deok-su
- Hideo Kimura as Oh Il-nam
- Vivian Lu as Kang Sae-byeok
- Rama Vallury as Abdul Ali
- Tom Choi as Front Man
- Donald Chang as Hwang Jun-ho
- Stephanie Komure as Han Mi-nyeo
- Yuuki Luna as Ji-yeong
Seong Gi-hun is down on his luck, having accumulated enormous debts with loan sharks while becoming estranged from his daughter and ex-wife. At a train station, he is asked by a well-dressed man to play a game of ddakji for money. The man gives Gi-hun a card, inviting him to play games with higher stakes.
Gi-hun accepts, is knocked unconscious, and taken to a mysterious location with 455 other players who awaken in a dormitory and are identified by numbers on their tracksuits. The location is managed by masked staff in pink jumpsuits and overseen by the Front Man, masked and dressed in black.
The players are all in dire financial straits and will be given billions of won in prize money if they win six games over six days. Gi-hun befriends Player 001, an elderly man suffering from a brain tumor, and recognizes among the players Cho Sang-woo, a former classmate and businessman, and Player 067, a pickpocket who stole his money after winning a horse race bet.
The first game is Red Light, Green Light, where those who lose are killed on the spot, revealing the sadistic nature of the games. Gi-hun is saved from falling by Player 199, a Pakistani foreign worker, and is able to complete the game.
More than half of the players are killed in the first game, and a few horrified survivors beg to leave. According to the third clause of the game’s agreement, if the majority vote to end the games, all players will be sent home but no money will be given.
The players vote, and Player 001’s deciding vote has all of them sent home safely. Gi-hun goes to the police but no one believes him except Detective Hwang Jun-ho, whose missing brother received the same invitation card as Gi-hun.
All players are given the chance to return to the games and many do so due to desperation, including Gi-hun, whose mother needs surgery; Sang-woo, who is about to be arrested for financial fraud; Player 001, who does not wish to die on the outside; Player 067, who wishes to exfiltrate her parents from North Korea and get her little brother out of an orphanage.
Player 199, who attacked and gravely wounded his boss for withholding his wages for months; and Player 101 (real name Jang Deok-su), a gangster on the run from gambling debts. Jun-ho secretly follows Gi-hun when he is picked up by the game staff
Jun-ho successfully infiltrates the games by disguising himself as a masked worker, and it is revealed that the location is a remote island. The players are now more prepared and start forming alliances.
Gi-hun, Sang-woo, Player 001, and Player 199 team up. In the second game, the players are to pick a stamped shape out of a dalgona. Sang-woo recognizes the game after learning about it from Player 067, but does not warn his teammates and chooses the simplest shape for himself. Gi-hun ends up picking the most difficult shape, an umbrella, but is able to complete the game by licking the honeycomb to melt it.
Player 212, a rowdy and manipulative woman, helps Deok-su complete the game with a smuggled lighter. A scared player takes a staff member hostage and forces him to unmask himself. Shocked that the staff member is only a young man, the player kills himself and the staff member is killed by the Front Man for revealing his identity.
Player 111, a disgraced doctor, secretly works with a handful of staff to harvest organs from dead players to sell on the black market in return for information on upcoming games. Gi-hun realizes that Sang-woo could have helped their team in the dalgona game but remains quiet.
The staff foment discord among the players to weed out the weak ones. Deok-su kills another player over food, which results in the prize money being increased. After lights out, a riot erupts and more players are killed. Player 067 joins Gi-hun’s team, who protect her from Deok-su’s gang.
When Player 001 begs everyone to stop, the Front Man ends the riot. Gi-hun’s team exchange names to build trust: Player 199 is Ali Abdul, and Player 067 is Kang Sae-byeok. Player 001, due to his brain tumor, has trouble remembering his name. In the bathroom, Player 212 (real name Han Mi-nyeo) has sex with Deok-su in exchange for protection.
At night, the guard in the quarters next to Jun-ho sends him a message by coughing in Morse code. In the third game, players are told to form groups of 10. Sae-byeok recruits Player 240, a girl close to her age. The game is revealed to be a tug of war on two raised platforms, where a team wins by dragging the opposing team off their platform and to their deaths.
Deok-su, learning about the game from Player 111 beforehand, picks only strong men and rejects Mi-nyeo, who joins Gi-hun’s team. After Deok-su’s team wins their match, Gi-hun’s team struggles against another all-male team and is on the verge of defeat.
In spite of having weaker players, Gi-hun’s team manages to win their tug-of-war match with Player 001’s strategy and Sang-woo’s quick thinking. Anticipating another riot, they build a barricade and spend the night taking turns on guard, but Deok-su’s team doesn’t attack.
Gi-hun reminisces on a similar situation from ten years ago, when he and many other workers from a car parts factory were suddenly laid-off, sparking a violent protest and causing the failed trajectory of Gi-hun’s life. Jun-ho learns about and witnesses the organ harvesting racket, as the staff member whose identity he stole was part of it.
Save Jun-ho, everyone involved in the racket is eventually killed, including Player 111. Their bodies are strung up for all players to see and the players receive an apology, as Player 111 had an unfair advantage and the games are prided on treating everyone equally, regardless of their status in the outside world.
The Front Man begins a facility-wide manhunt for Jun-ho, who later breaks into the Front Man’s office; he learns that the game has been running for over 30 years, and that his brother Hwang In-ho was the winner in 2015.
For the fourth game, players are told to pair up. Sang-woo, who is close with Ali, picks him; Gi-hun, who has compassion for Player 001, chooses him; Player 240 picks Sae-byeok.
Expecting that they will be working with their partner, the players are horrified to learn that they will actually be playing against their partner in a marble game of their choice, and whoever gets all their partner’s marbles within 30 minutes will win and survive.
Sae-byeok and Player 240 (real name Ji-yeong) talk about their lives; Ji-yeong decides that Sae-byeok has more to live for, and intentionally loses the marble game to be killed. Sang-woo tricks Ali into giving up his marbles and wins, letting Ali be killed. Gi-hun, about to lose, turns the game around by using Player 001’s failing memory against him, even though doing so unnerves him.
Player 001 reveals that he knew Gi-hun was tricking him the whole time, but allows Gi-hun to win anyway as Gi-hun is his gganbu (trusted friend). Before being killed, 001 remembers his name: Oh Il-nam. Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Sae-byeok are all traumatized by the deaths of their partners.
Player 069, who defeated his wife in the marble game, is heartbroken and commits suicide. Foreign VIP guests arrive and are welcomed by the Front Man on behalf of his boss, who is the host. The VIPs are wealthy patrons who wager on the games and watch them live.
Jun-ho, now posing as one of the masked servants, is sexually propositioned by a VIP. In a private room, he attacks the VIP and interrogates him for info, recording the VIP’s confession on his phone before escaping the island with a scuba kit. The Front Man spots him and pursues him.
In the fifth game, the players have 16 minutes to cross a high bridge with panels made of either tempered or regular glass, the latter of which cannot support their weight. Most players at the front of the line fall to their deaths as the panels are tested. When Deok-su gets to the front, he refuses to move despite the clock ticking.
Mi-nyeo grabs him and, as revenge for betraying her, takes him down with her to their deaths. Sang-woo angrily pushes Player 017 when he takes too long, killing him to reveal the last trick panel. Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Sae-byeok are the only three to complete the game
As finalists, Gi-hun, Sang-woo, and Sae-byeok are given a change of clothes and a fancy steak dinner. It is revealed that Sae-byeok was badly wounded in the previous game, having been stabbed by a piece of flying glass when the bridge shattered, and is swiftly bleeding out.
When dinner is cleared, each of them is left with a knife. After lights out, Gi-hun, now realizing Sang-woo will go to any length to win, plans to kill Sang-woo in his sleep but Sae-byeok stops him, telling him he is not a murderer. Gi-hun suggests they team up against Sang-woo.
A weakened Sae-byeok instead begs Gi-hun to promise that whoever wins the game will look after the other’s loved ones. Sae-byeok’s injuries worsen, prompting a desperate Gi-hun to run and call for help. Sae-byeok is killed by Sang-woo when Gi-hun is away, and the staff arrive only to collect her body.
Meanwhile, Jun-ho makes it to another island but is quickly tracked down by the Front Man and the staff. To Jun-ho’s shock, the Front Man reveals himself to be his brother, In-ho. In-ho shoots Jun-ho in the shoulder, causing Jun-ho to fall over a cliff and disappear into the water.
The final game is the eponymous Squid game. After a long and brutal fight in the rain, Gi-hun defeats Sang-woo but refuses to complete the game. He attempts to invoke the game’s third clause so that he and Sang-woo can leave alive, but Sang-woo stabs himself in the neck. As he dies, Sang-woo asks Gi-hun to use the prize money to help his mother.
A traumatized Gi-hun returns home to find his own mother has passed away. A year later, Gi-hun suffers from survivor’s guilt and has barely touched his prize money. One night he receives a game invitation card; to his shock, he finds Oh Il-nam (Player 001) still alive but dying from his brain tumor. Il-nam is revealed to be the mastermind behind the game, which he created to entertain the bored ultra-rich like himself while testing if humanity had any innate goodness left in it.
He reminds Gi-hun that despite allowing the players to leave, many returned willingly. The specific games are based on Il-nam’s childhood, and he had participated himself for nostalgia’s sake. As they talk, the two see an unconscious man lying on a street corner; Il-nam asks Gi-hun to bet whether or not someone will help him before midnight. Gi-hun wins and Il-nam dies, presumably after witnessing his loss.
Gi-hun fulfills his promises to Sae-byeok and Sang-woo, and leaves for the airport to reconnect with his daughter in Los Angeles. En route, he sees someone playing ddakji with the same game recruiter who found him. He angrily snatches the player’s card, and before boarding his plane he calls the card’s number, demanding who is still running the games. The Front Man orders him to get on the plane, but Gi-hun instead ends the call and stays in Seoul, determined to stop the game.
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Name: Squid Game
Genre: Action, Thriller, Survival, Drama
Country: South Korea