The biggest thing on TV right now is the Korean drama Squid Game, an international Netflix series that has taken the world by storm and is apparently on its way to being the most-watched Netflix show of all-time despite pretty much everyone on the planet three weeks ago saying, "What the heck is a Squid Game?" The series follows a group of participants battling in an underground competition in which they play various games for a huge cash prize. But if you're one of the millions and millions of people who have watched the whole series, you're probably looking for something else to watch. Something with people in life-or-death situations, playing games for money, and dying horribly.
Netflix hasn't announced Squid Game Season 2 yet, so we've gathered a list of shows about survival and demented games, as well as some disturbing shows and movies from Asia. Here are more shows and movies like Squid Game to watch.
It's possible that the creators of Squid Game watched the anime Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor and decided to make a live-action series based on it, because the similarities are uncanny. Its lead is a man in debt who's offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in a series of games with others who are in the red to pay off what he owes. The games include Rock, Paper, Scissors and walking across a balance beam -- that just so happens to be electrified -- while others bet on which participants they think will win. Like Squid Game, it's brutal with characters facing extreme risks, but there's even more trickery going on as competitors try to outdo each other to shave down their debts. [Watch on Crunchyroll]
If you simplify Squid Game down to "you play and win a game OR YOU DIE!," then the Japanese Netflix series Alice in Borderland is the perfect follow-up. It follows a video game enthusiast and his two friends who mysteriously find themselves in a parallel Tokyo where they're forced to play various games to survive. Unlike Squid Game, the challenge is solving problems rather than competing against others, and once the games start, they keep coming. As does the grisly violence! [Watch on Netflix]
If you enjoyed the rare glimpses of humanity in Squid Game between Seong Gi-hun (no. 456) and Oh Il-nam (no. 001), you'll probably enjoy Netflix's #Alive, a Korean zombie thriller about a young man who locks himself in his apartment during a zombie apocalypse. Amidst the carnage and chaos, he discovers another survivor not too far away whom he bonds with. Sure, it has nothing to do with games or winning money, but it does share Squid Game's focus on survival and morality. [Watch on Netflix]
Need more of that dark, bonkers Korean drama energy that Squid Game has? Strap in and fire up Sweet Home, a fantasy horror series about a group of people locked inside an apartment complex while the world turns into monsters -- monsters that reflect their inner demons -- all around them. There are no shady corporations pulling strings on games, but like Squid Game, there's good interpersonal drama when there's not insane action. (Also, there are monster fights. Everyone loves monster fights.) [Watch on Netflix]
It's not the original "put a bunch of people together and have them kill each other to survive" movie, but it's one of the earliest to really define the genre's meaningless violence for today's audiences. Plus, it's the reason your nephew is addicted to Fortnite and other battle royale video games, and it's the reason Hunger Games even exists. The 2000 Japanese film is set in a time when a totalitarian government takes very extreme measures to curb juvenile delinquency: a high school class is taken to an island where they're told to kill each other until one person is left alive. It doesn't sound like that great of a plan, but it is that great of a movie. [Watch on Amazon/IMDb TV]
There are no games of life and death to be played in USA Network's The Purge, but if they did happen, they wouldn't be illegal! The series, based on the movie franchise, posits what would happen if nothing was illegal for a night (or various other amounts of time, like FOREVER), and the answer is insanity. Admittedly, the series isn't America's crowning achievement, but if the mayhem of Squid Game is what you're after, then The Purge will provide it. (Just don't look more much else.) [Watch on Hulu, Peacock]
Adults shouldn't have all the fun in competing against each other for prosperity. The Brazilian young adult series 3% is set during the reign of a -- say it with me -- totalitarian government in which 20-year-olds have one chance to escape living in poverty and live among the rich and happy on an island paradise. But to do so, they have to be approved of while going through "the Process," a series of tests designed to evaluate the candidate's worth. The tests range from a simple interview to solving fake crime scenes to deciphering hallucinations caused by gas. But like Squid Game, the objective is to make it to the next round. [Watch on Netflix]
Squid Game is now on Netflix.