13: Game of Death (2006)

1h 54m / R / Thriller

A desperate, financially bereft man who is his elderly mother’s sole means of support is about to give up forever when he is presented, out of nowhere, with an option: complete a series of increasingly degrading, awful tasks given to him by an anonymous voice and win a huge sum of money. But if he fails, quits or is discovered, he will lose everything. This movie came out 15 years before Squid Game.

We kid, of course; the “deadly contest” trope has been around since at least freshman-English perennial favorite The Most Dangerous Game. And 13: Game of Death (also known as 13 Beloved), a critical and commercial hit in its native country of Thailand, has just as much in common with puzzlebox films like Oldboy and Saw (and, in an odd way, Slumdog Millionaire). But its taunting visual language and shocking, brutally hilarious visuals make the comparison to everybody’s favorite tracksuit showcase inevitable.

Thai w. English subtitles

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