The growing divide between social and economic classes continues to be a significant topic, one that has taken center stage in films. Along with last year’s Best Picture winner Parasite, high-profile hits like Joker, Hustlers, and Knives Out have incorporated this growing issue into their content, offering entertainment value along with streaks of social relevance. Netflix’s latest high-concept horror project The Platform (winner of the TIFF Midnight Movie award), attempts a similar blend with winning results, delivering a project that satisfies in midnight-horror brutality and thoughtful social dynamics.
Set in a dystopian future, The Platform follows Goreng (Iván Massagué), who awakes in an endless prison block where two people reside on each floor. With only those near the top floors getting food, Goreng sets his sights on changing this unjust system.
Writers David Desola and Pedro Rivero deserve credit for crafting an intriguing and fresh high-concept premise to mesh with their taunt thematic goals. As great horror movies do, The Platform’s narrative nestles in a place of grotesque behavior, connecting its brutal shocking moments with the casual cruelty of those in a position of privilege. While the project’s thematic ambitions may be somewhat limited, it’s the violent marriage of form and content that renders their message true with blunt impact.
Delivering the conceptual ideas with style and craft, Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia impresses with his directorial debut. Accompanied by an eerily distinct score, Gaztelu-Urrutia clearly is having a blast playing in the genre wheelhouse, composing a dimly-lit, close-quarters setting that drips with atmosphere. Unlike a lot of modern horror films that try to unnerve audiences in every frame, this project is decidedly more patient with its approach, allowing for the audience to breathe and become entrenched in this unique setting. Once the carnage ensues, the camera work is bleak, bloody, and often unnerving, matching its thematic roots while offering satisfying genre thrills.
The Platform has a lot to offer, but can’t quite match some of its acclaimed counterparts. While stars Ivan Massague and Zorion Eguileor offer strong work in their respective roles (their cat-and-mouse game of trust is compelling, if not predictable), they are given little characterization to work with. Massague’s Goreng is a generic good guy with little on his mind other than doing the right thing, exemplifying the script’s limitations in capturing the depth with its metaphor.
While The Platform doesn’t have anything particularly new to say, it’s blood-soaked statements about class warfare ring true with thrilling results. With the Coronavirus shutting down theaters across the country, this Netflix offering should be a satisfying supplement for all horror fans [B].
Reviewed by Matt Conway