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Last Updated 23.06.2024 | 6:14 PM IST



The 8 Show Review: Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee starrer aspires to be Squid Game with high-octane tension but falls flat

en Bollywood News The 8 Show Review: Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee starrer aspires to be Squid Game with high-octane tension but falls flat

The scripted survival K-drama premiered on Netflix on May 17, 2024.

When push comes to shove, even the most saint-like person might resort to basic animalistic tendencies - anything to ensure they survive until the very end. If these tendencies are fuelled by greed and malice, then the limits of a human mind to conquer everything would know no bounds. Time and again, there has been research (and even real-life proof) on how humans survive in chronic conditions like large-scale disaster, a war, etc. Both fact and fiction have shown the resilience and limits of a human mind. In a world which is growing dystopian, it won’t be a surprise to see that there is a section of society - with a lot of money, time and power in their hands - which would not shy away from using other humans for their entertainment. Voyeurism has been a hotly debated and shunned topic but the clandestine activities continue to take place.

The 8 Show Review: Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee starrer aspires to be Squid Game with high-octane tension but falls flat

The 8 Show Review: Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee starrer aspires to be Squid Game with high-octane tension but falls flat

You must be wondering why such commentary on human nature? This exploration sets the stage for a closer look at The 8 Show, a new Korean drama released on May 17, 2024. Based on the webtoon “Money Game” and its sequel “Pie Game” by Bae Jin Soo, it's an eight-episode limited series exploring themes of economic disparity, human greed, and the primal instinct for survival.

The 8 Show throws eight actors, including Chun Woo Hee and Ryu Jun Yeol alongside Lee Yul Em, Park Jeong Min, Moon Jeong Hee, Lee Joo Young, Baek Seong Woo and Park Hae Joon into a predictable mold. We meet them simply as “The 8,” stripped of names and identities, further emphasizing their isolation. The show plays its cards close to the vest, withholding details about the game's origins, its financial backing, and the motives of the unseen puppeteers. This ambiguity might be intentional, mirroring the contestants' confusion, but it also borders on mocking the audience's desire for answers.  While the lack of character depth and the show's secrecy could be deliberate choices, they ultimately create a sense of detachment and leave viewers wanting more than predictable stereotypes and unanswered questions.

As the show progresses, we see that contestants give into their instincts, as animalistic as they can be. Eventually, the politics and internal conflict that happens leads the contestants to physically harm each other. The mental violence that happens on each of these players is beyond measure. One word of advice, if you haven’t seen the show yet, then don’t watch it when you are eating or drinking anything. There is ample gore and disgust in the show to make you uncomfortable.

The 8 Show Review: Ryu Jun Yeol, Chun Woo Hee starrer aspires to be Squid Game with high-octane tension but falls flat

Each episode runs about an hour long. Each episode dives into the present time where the contestants are locked up in the building and also a short flashback to each of their past. With the reveal of their past and reason for their arrival, the contestants’ actions in the present are justified. We find out that no contestant is without regret or failure in their life. Regardless of the economic and social background they come from, they are so lost in life that only money seems to be their rescue.

The 8 Show is a classic proof that if humans are left to their own devices in a hyper controlled setting, it will result in nothing less than a mentally and physically violent aftermath. The contestants on the show win a sum of money, but at the end of day was it truly worth it? Shows like The 8 Show serve like a wakeup call to the common folk that sure money is giving you troubles but at the end of the day, is it worth all the trouble? Doing hard and honest work will yield good results. But is subjecting oneself to utter disrespect, violence, and embarrassment and losing dignity worth the money received in the end? There are people who would manipulate others’ weaknesses just for their sadistic pleasure. People, and the society overall, have given money too much power. So much that money has become the sole objective of control and power.

The final act of The 8 Show throws some violence at viewers, but it's a desperate attempt to salvage the tedium of the first five episodes. A survival game show craves brutality to keep the stakes high. Look at Alice in Borderland or Squid Game – they understand this concept. The 8 Show tries to mimic Squid Game but fails miserably, devolving into boredom.

The violence itself feels nonsensical. We learn 1F attacked floors 4 and 6 to extend the game. Floor 6, rightfully enraged, pulls a gun on the culprit. But then, inexplicably, floor 8 intervenes with a taser. This pointless scene adds nothing – it's just a character indulging in a needless thrill.

The 8 Show aspires to high-octane tension but falls flat. The late-game violence feels like a last-minute scramble to mask the show's core problem: a tedious first act that fails to establish the stakes or generate genuine fear.

If you enjoy watching shows that delve deeper into the human psyche and make a mess out of it, then perhaps The 8 Show would make a good choice. However, the show doesn’t give the high that audience’s want or would like to feel.

Have you watched The 8 Show? What are your thoughts?

Watch the teaser for The 8 Show here:

Also Read: The 8 Show Teaser: Ryu Jun Yeol and Chun Woo Hee enter a game filled with randomness and bizarre events to win big money, watch


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