With the Corona Virus causing everyone to go into a panic and grocery stores running out of supplies as the greedy grab up as much as they can, Netflix has just released a Spanish horror film called The Platform from director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia. It raises some very real questions in regards to our world, consumption, and the less fortunate suffering because of greed. It’s a wake-up call and one of the must-see films of the year.
The Platform (which won The People’s Choice award for TIFF Midnight Madness last year) is a film that takes place in a prison called “The Hole“. When the film begins, we’re introduced to an innocent young man named Goreng (Ivan Massague) and his elderly cellmate Trimagasi (Zorion Eguileor). Since Goreng is new, Trimagasi explains how The Hole works. Goreng is in the same boat as us. We learn new details as he does.
The Hole is essentially a giant tower that starts at level 0 and goes down to level 333, with two inmates per level (666, which explains to you just what kind of place The Hole is). At level 0, there’s a kitchen where an assortment of foods are cooked and placed on a massive platform in the middle of the room that will be lowered down to each level. The food on the platform could very well feed all the inmates that reside in The Hole, but portions aren’t a requirement among the inmates. Each inmate can eat as much as they want in the time span that the table remains on their level. Once the platform starts moving down to the next level, feeding time is over. This happens once per day. Because the inmates on the higher levels feel entitled to eat however much they want, the giant table of food barely makes it past floor 50 before it’s completely picked over. Trimigasi even likes to spit on the food before it goes down to the next level because he feels they would do the same to him if they were in his place.
While the ones on top might act all high and mighty, there is a catch. While you’re serving out your sentence, at the beginning of each month, the cellmates are knocked out with some type of gas that puts them to sleep and they are moved to a different level. One month you could be on floor 10 and have access to an assortment of foods, living the high life with your roommate. The month after, you could be on floor 200 and have literally nothing to eat (except your roommate) the entire month. You might even be one of the unlucky ones that gets two consecutive months of going with no food. It’s cruel but mimics our very way of life. The less fortunate suffer.
I also forgot to mention each inmate can bring one item with them into The Hole. The lovely Trimigasi brought a self-sharpening knife. Our boy Goreng brought a book…
For such a gruesome premise, The Platform is consistently riveting and feels original. I know we’ve seen certain films that follow the same premise like Snowpiercer and Cube, but this one feels fresh. From the very beginning I was invested, hoping that Goreng would survive his six-month sentence. It constantly had me questioning what I would do in a situation like that. Would I eat only enough to get me by each day, knowing the next month I could be living off of the disgusting scraps the cellmates who dwell above left for me? What item would I take in with me? Would I be willing to eat my cellmate to survive, or would I just throw myself down the hole in the middle of room and be done with it? There really isn’t a dull moment as the tension and gore continues to ratchet up until you can’t take it anymore as it hurdles towards its bloody climax… which leads me to my next point.
In case you hadn’t caught on, this film is definitely not for the squeamish. It’s chock-full of cannibalism, blood, gore, suicide, you name it. It’s a wild ride for sure, but it fits with the tone and just how gruesome the entire scenario is. The world that The Platform exists in is gritty and grimy, just as it should be. The Hole feels like a real and lived in place, which makes it even more terrifying to watch. If you love horror movies like I do, you’ll feel right at home among these lunatics.
With what is happening in the world right now in terms of consumption and greed, Netflix’s new horror film The Platform couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It’s eye-opening, vicious, cruel, and smart. It might be a bit too preachy for some, but it’s a film that demands to be seen. Hopefully it will spark others to do some good given what’s currently happening in our world, much like our unfortunate hero Goreng tries to do. – NVJ
The Platform is now streaming on Netflix