Netflix’s Hellbound Creator Speaks On Show’s Comparisons To Squid Game
Yeon Sangho, director for Train To Busan and creator of the hit Netflix series, discusses recent comparisons with Netflix’s Squid Game, another famous South Korean show. Hellbound examines modern society’s reaction to supernatural and unexplainable events and how they might be worse than the actual events. A different version of Earth is visited by beings who tell the citizens when they will die and what sins will cause them to go to hell. This causes widespread panic. This causes society to split into different groups like the New Truth Society and turn against each other. This shows viewers social and political themes that resonate.
Squid Game dominated the world earlier this year and boasted a significant viewership on Netflix. According to the streaming platform, the show was watched by 1.65 billion people. This set the stage for Korean shows to be seen in the West. Hellboundwas released in November. It also received substantial viewership numbers and topped the charts with SquidGame, becoming extremely popular. Many fans began to compare Hellbound to Squid Game.
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In an interview with the New York Post, Sang-ho discusses the similarities between his show and Squid Game. He discusses why viewers draw comparisons between Korean shows and their popularity. He also discusses their effect on the reception of Korean dramas and what this could mean for other shows in the future. You can read the full quote from him below.
“I believe ‘Squid Game” and ‘Hellbound have different strengths and that is why people love them. They had something people could relate to. Everyone has some level of fear or darkness within them. This is universal, I believe. When I made ‘Hellbound’, I wanted to see what hope it could draw from the fear in each of us.
These dark and apocalyptic themes have been explored in Korean dramas for a while now. It’s not been that long with Korean movies — TV was mostly romance and romantic comedies. Only 3-4 years ago, Korean dramas began to explore darker genres. There have been environmental shifts in the industry. A lot of filmmakers came over to the [TV] Drama industry and brought along the darker drama.
It doesn’t mean that a show has to be dark to be popular internationally. It’s not that “Squid Game” and “Hellbound” were two dark series. Some Korean shows, such as ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha-Cha and ‘Crash Landing on You,’ are also very happy and have a worldwide audience. Korea is home to many different genres. Creators are now focusing on genres they have never tried before. The mainstream used to be romance and rom-coms. Now, it’s dark.
Sang-ho will want to explain how the shows are similar in exposing audiences to new content. Squid Game was still relatively new, which may have caused people to compare the two shows even more. Hellbound deals with religious issues, demons coming onto Earth, and torturous games that comment on capitalism, greed, and capitalism. Although the plots and messages of each show are very different, Sang-ho points out that they are both critical to audiences.
It will be fascinating to see how viewers receive Korean works made in the West. This is already happening with films such as Parasite, and it is also happening with Netflix shows. There is certainly room for more creative and well-made content. These shows are sure to become more mainstream if is any indication. They will introduce audiences to original content that makes them reflect on the deeper themes they often touch upon.