The Real Reason Coffins Were Shaped Like Gift Boxes In Squid Game
By now, you should know that “Squid Game” is one of the biggest TV shows of 2021. The South Korean dystopic thriller follows a group of down-on-their-luck people who voluntarily enter a competition involving a series of deadly children’s games, all for the amusement of the rich. But it’s a lot more than just a violent and disturbing gore-fest. “Squid Game” is also one big metaphor for the evils of capitalism.
One reason why it’s so popular is that so much care and attention went into the show. “Squid Game” is packed full of subtle hints and Easter eggs. Small details are important, and everything from the colors of the contestants’ uniforms to the designs of the workers’ masks is a symbol with deeper meaning. It’s a show that definitely rewards multiple viewings.
Here’s another detail that might have escaped your attention: the coffins. Whenever a contestant or worker dies, they’re carried off in a black coffin wrapped with a pink bow, much like a large gift box. Like so many other details in “Squid Game,” there’s a deeper reason why the coffins look that way.
The gift-box coffins are a twisted message from the game's creator
In a roundtable interview with Netflix Korea (via YouTube), “Squid Game” production designer Chae Kyung Sun explained the gift-box coffins’ meaning. “I think it focused on the mind of the person who came up with the game,” she said. “I imagine he’d think he gave the contestants a chance as if he’s a god. ‘This is my gift to you. Even your bodies being disposed in the incinerator is a show of mercy.’ So I thought, what if I put a ribbon on it?”
That tracks what we know about that character, Il-nam, aka the “Old Man,” aka Contestant No. 001 (Oh Yeong-su). When he’s first introduced on the show, he appears to be just another contestant, and he appears to die in Episode 6. Later, it’s revealed that he isn’t just dying from terminal cancer — he’s also the creator of the games. As he explains to Seong Gi-hun (Lee Jung-jae), the reason why he created the games was that he was bored. Actually participating in the games was his way of getting an adrenalin fix, even if he was never in mortal danger like the other contestants.
The fact that Il-nam was willing to organize a series of twisted takes on children’s games for his own amusement already speaks to the callous way he regards other people’s lives. And cremating the contestants inside a literal gift box shows just how depraved he really is.