Hundreds of cash-strapped “Squid Game” fans competed in a real-life recreation of the dystopian smash-hit Netflix series for a $456,000 cash prize.
Popular YouTuber MrBeast, who boasts 76.4 million subscribers, said he spent $3.5 million on the elaborate reenactment in which 456 contestants battled for the jackpot.
The social media star, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, said on Twitter that it cost him around $2 million to build and produce, while he spent around $1.5 million on prizes.
In addition to the six-figure first prize, Donaldson doled out $2,000 to every competitor and $10,000 to the runner-up.
The recreation included the same Korean children’s games played in “Squid Game,” such as Red Light, Green Light, marbles and tug-of-war — in huge sets that took weeks to construct.
But unlike in the unsettling drama, no contestants were harmed.
Players were instead rigged with “wireless explosives” packed with fake blood that burst open when a player was eliminated.
In the tug-of-war and glass bridge challenges, losing contestants fell into a foam pit rather than plummeting to their deaths.
But true to form, the real-life “Squid Game” contestants were seen in footage of the game trembling as they tried to carve shapes out of honeycomb in the “dalgona challenge.”
The “Squid Game” reenactment isn’t the first time Donaldson has pulled off an extravagant stunt like this for his YouTube channel.
Donaldson is famed for offering outlandish prizes to his online followers willing to compete in absurd challenges, such as when contestants stood in a circle for 12 days for $500,000 cash.
The social media sensation was the second-highest paid YouTube star in 2020, earning about $24 million and garnering some 3 billion views, according to Forbes
But his latest video has attracted harsh criticism from viewers who slammed Donaldson for reenacting a game about rich people exploiting the poor for their macabre viewing pleasure.
Other critics also noted the irony of Donaldson making ad revenue by recreating a show that sternly denounces capitalism.
The stunt video was released just a day after a smuggler who sold copies of “Squid Game” in North Korea was sentenced to death by firing squad.