Updated: Mar 3
Fellow avid Netflix addicts, chances are you’ve spent the past few weeks binging the internet’s newest obsession: Squid Game. Since its recent release in September, the thrilling Korean survival/drama series has been dominating Netflix’s Top 10 charts globally and is well on its way to dethroning Bridgerton as the streaming service’s most viewed original series to date. With it’s intriguing, battle-royale type storyline and ever-growing popularity, it’s no surprise many of us finished the nine episode show in just a matter of days, and are left craving for more.
Luckily, your search for the perfect survival thriller to fill that post Squid Game void is merely clicks away from your Netflix homepage. Introducing: Alice in Borderland.
A series of simple, yet deceptive games. Winners progress to the next, losers are killed. Ring a bell? In Squid Game, we focused on the story of a debt-ridden divorcee who is invited to participate in a series of children’s games for a large cash prize. The twist? If you lose, you die, and the winners move on to the next game. Alice in Borderland offers a strikingly similar concept of how one’s performance in these intense games ultimately determines their fate. However, instead of being given the choice to participate, we dive into a dystopian-like world where participants are compelled to play against their will.
This live-action adaptation of the popular manga written by Haro Aso brings forth a twist to the children’s classic we all know and love: Alice in Wonderland. The story revolves around juvenile delinquent Arisu (the titular “Alice”); an unemployed video-game addict, prone to causing trouble with his two best friends and constantly ridiculed by his family for his lack of contribution to society. The trio of friends each lead dull and misfortunate lives of their own, often wishing to escape from their current situations in exchange for a more invigorating reality until one day, they find themselves mysteriously transported to what appears to be an emptied out Tokyo. The crowded streets of Shibuya crossing are eerily abandoned, and those who are left find themselves trapped in a parallel world called Borderland, where they are then forced to compete in a series of deadly games for survival.
Those in the Borderland are faced with an endless array of challenges, one after the other, with no end in sight. The difficulty of these challenges are randomized and determined by the four card suits, each representing a certain type of game. Diamond games require a harrowing battle of wits while on the contrary, spade games favor those with physical fortitude. The next are club games, requiring teamwork and cooperation, while perhaps the most vile and twisted of them all would be the heart games. Games designed to manipulate and contort the human mind into committing sick acts; a game specifically tailored to provide maximum suffering to its contestants. The complex unpredictability of Alice in Borderland’s challenges offer a perfect contrast towards Squid Games’s seemingly simple, yet disturbing twist on childhood games.
All in all, Alice in Borderland is sure to fulfill your desire for another binge-worthy survival show similar to that of Squid Game’s. While its disturbing and violent scenes are certainly not for the faint of heart, the special effects and overall execution of the show is quite phenomenal, thanks to its talented production team and plethora of skilled actors. In addition to the cinematic visual storytelling by Japanese filmmaker Shinsuke Sato, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to the mysterious Borderlands yourself. Fortunately, the show was recently renewed for a season two, so strap in for a rollercoaster of emotions because Alice in Borderland’s twists and turns, deadly puzzles and memorable characters are sure to keep you up all night.