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Here Are 10 Other Intense Thrillers to Watch if You Like Squid Game


Squid Game blew up the world when it came out in September 2021, but that storm has since died down because we haven’t heard much about Season 2 of Squid Game.

The dystopian Netflix thriller with high stakes, interesting characters, ideas about class conflict, and a unique visual style made it the biggest TV hit of 2021, connecting millions of people all over the world. It shows TV producers that original ideas can still be huge hits if they are done well.

And part of the reason Squid Game is so popular is that it’s not unique. A lot of other shows and movies will remind you in some way of Hwang Dong-hyuk’s series about a game where people with a lot of debt fight to the death for a huge amount of money.

Physical: 100

Physical: 100 is essentially a real-life Squid Game, except without the gruesome murders and manipulative behind-the-scenes elements. Here’s the gist of it: One hundred competitors face off in a series of elimination rounds and subsequent challenges until only one victor remains.

Because of its emphasis on physical perfection, the Korean series casts a variety of bodybuilders, mixed martial arts competitors, and military men.

The level of competition is intense, and the range of skills on exhibit (strongmen vs gymnasts, for example) calls to mind the famous Jean-Claude Van Damme film Bloodsport. There will soon be an actual Squid Game reality program, but Physical: 100 beats it to the punch, and nobody has died trying to win it.

Movies Like Squid Game

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A few months before Squid Game, Prime Video released this young adult series. Despite being canceled after only one season, the show is still worth watching if the idea of people risking their lives for the chance to make millions of dollars intrigues you.

The story occurs in the Texas town of Carp, which is a dead end. Each summer, high school seniors who are about to leave Carp for college participate in a competition dubbed “Panic,” in which they attempt perilous challenges for the chance to win $50,000.

Although it’s not as good as Squid Game and aims at a narrower YA demographic, it demonstrates that the themes of economic desperation explored in Squid Game are just as applicable in the United States as in South Korea.

Movies Like Squid Game

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All of Us Are Dead

Some of South Korea’s biggest global hits have been zombie stories, with Netflix’s All of Us Are Dead being one of the most successful.

It is Netflix’s third most popular non-English series ever. The suspenseful thriller about a zombie virus epidemic at a high school follows teenagers as they combat flesh-eating zombies, some of whom were human pals just minutes before.

The series stars Yoon Chan-young, Park Ji-hu, Park Solomon, Cho Yi-hyun, and Lee Yoo-mi, who you may recall from her role as the self-sacrificing Player 240 in Squid Game.

With its focus on juvenile characters and a scenario that transforms everyday classrooms into brutal battlegrounds, All of Us Are Dead, based on the webtoon Now at Our School, is a unique twist on the zombie genre. As the virus spreads beyond the school’s borders, the show’s investigation of Squid Game-esque themes such as authority corruption and power abuse becomes more apparent.

Movies Like Squid Game

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If Squid Game was your first Korean drama, make sure to check out the new Netflix thriller Hellbound to see what else Korean TV makers are capable of.

The series, written and directed by Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho and based on his webtoon Hell, brilliantly blends horror and morality, exactly like Squid Game does.

When angels begin to descend on Earth to inform sinners of their impending death and that they will be taken to hell by a trio of smoking creatures who beat the victims to a bloody pulp before frying them, the rest of the world takes notice, particularly a religious cult who sees this as God’s response to our growing ambivalence of right and wrong. You’ll enter Squid Game believing it’s one thing, only to discover it’s a lot more intricate.

Movies Like Squid Game

Dr. Brain

Check out Dr. Brain, a psychological sci-fi thriller that will premiere on Apple TV+ in November 2021, for the next level of Korean dramas. The story revolves around a brain scientist who devises a method to transfer memories from one person to the next in order to explore a family tragedy. It’s as bizarre as Squid Game in that it deals with tapping into the minds of the dead and living and imagining what that may look like (answer: like a psychedelic nightmare), but it’s also rooted in emotion that drives the plot.

Movies Like Squid Game

Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor

It’s possible that the creators of Squid Game saw 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 given the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in a series of games with other people in debt to pay off what he owes. The games include Rock, Paper, Scissors and walking across an electrified balance beam while others bet.

Movies Like Squid Game

Alice in Borderland

If you boil down Squid Game to “you play and win a game OR YOU DIE!” the Japanese Netflix series Alice in Borderland is the ideal follow-up. It follows a video game fanatic and two buddies who are inexplicably transported to a parallel Tokyo where they are compelled to play various games in order to survive.

Unlike Squid Game, the challenge is solving issues rather than competing against others, and the games keep coming after they start. As does the heinous violence!

Movies Like Squid Game


If you enjoyed Seong Gi-hun’s (no. 456) and Oh Il-nam’s (no. 001) rare flashes of humanity in Squid Game, you’ll definitely enjoy Netflix’s #Alive, a Korean zombie thriller about a young guy who locks himself in his apartment amid a zombie apocalypse.

In the middle of the carnage and mayhem, he meets another survivor with whom he forms a bond. It has nothing to do with gaming or money, yet it shares Squid Game’s emphasis on survival and morals.

Movies Like Squid Game

Sweet Home

Do you want more of Squid Game’s dark, wacky Korean drama energy? Strap in and switch on Sweet Home, a fantasy horror series about a group of people trapped within an apartment complex while the world around them transforms into monsters – monsters that reflect their inner demons.

There are no evil companies pulling the strings on games, but there is good interpersonal drama when there isn’t outrageous action, as in Squid Game. (There are also monster fights. Everyone enjoys watching monster fights.

Movies Like Squid Game

Battle Royale

It’s not the first “put a bunch of people together and have them kill each other to survive” film, but it’s one of the first to define the genre’s pointless violence for today’s audiences. Furthermore, it is the reason your nephew is addicted to Fortnite and other battle royale video games, as well as the reason the Hunger Games exists.

Movies Like Squid Game

The Japanese film, released in 2000, is set in a time when a totalitarian government uses drastic methods to combat adolescent delinquency: a high school class is transferred to an island and instructed to kill each other until only one person is alive. It doesn’t sound like a smart plan, yet it is a fantastic film.


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