Wouldn’t you know that? A Spanish dystopian thriller, The Platform, dropped on Netflix last week. Additionally, film history is filled with great movies, so we have no shortage of entertainment to catch up on while practicing social distancing.
We’ve compiled a list of the best movies to watch if you’re addicted to The Platform and looking for something similar. In The Platform, directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia, two inmates live on each level of an entirely vertical prison.
Every day, a massive platform of food descends from the top to the bottom of the two beds on each side of the room. The bottom dwellers die in despair as the bones are picked clean at the bottom.
It’s a sharp, tense thriller that turns class warfare into a literal prison, and the selections below will scratch the same itch. They are worth watching once you finish.The Platform; some are thematic siblings, some share plot constructs, and others invoke a similar feeling.
1: Parasite and/or Snowpiercer
There are many similarities between Netflix’s thriller and Parasite, thanks in part to its themes about class warfare and self-cannibalization of the lower classes (sure, more literally in The Platform), not to mention the use of literal floors to show the high and low.
If you turn The Platform’s plot horizontally and strap it to the back of a speeding train in the post-apocalyptic future, you have Snowpiercer.
During a ravaging ice eco-apocalypse outside Snowpiercer’s speeding walls, each passenger gets stuck in whatever cabin they are riding in director Bong’s 2013 sci-fi thriller.
The front line lives in luxury and indulgence while the rear suffers and starves. His character grew up in squalor in the rear cabins and led a violent rebellion.
Any of Director Bong’s outstanding “social thrillers” will not disappoint; the movie is wild and captures the spirit of The Platform best. Whether you choose Parasite or Snowpiercer, you’ll fulfill your creative itch inspired by The Platform.
A perfect parallel to The Platform is High-Rise, another social-minded thriller that puts the class conflict in a literal towering structure. With Tom Hiddleston starring as Dr. Robert Laing, Dr. Ballard’s classic novel has been adapted into a surreal 2013 dystopian thriller.
It is only when power outages upend their paradise and chaos creeps into the darkness that those at the top begin to feel connected to the chaos of the natural world below. The Platform is a much more straightforward film than High-Rise.
However, they’re ultimately both about dog-eat-dog scrambles for the top floors and the chaos that arises when social contracts are shredded by extraordinary circumstances.
Jordan Peele’s 2019 horror movie Us is another clever above-below depiction of haves and have-nots that pits the citizens of America against a violent and tragic shadow society.
As a follow-up to his Oscar-winning debut Us, Peele combines his clever wit with a Twilight Zone-like genre riff. Just as with The Platform, Us explores a country at war with itself and the systems that put us at odds.
But Us takes it a step further by diving into Doppelgånger horror. Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex also star in the film.
During awards season, Nyong’o was robbed (and she is extraordinary in the film). The performance alone is worth the price of admission.
The film’s ambition to be more than a sum of the scares (while having excellent scares) and Peele’s gripping direction make Us a perfect sequel to The Platform.
4: Ready or Not
The news cycle shows why class warfare is on filmmakers’ minds these days. The horror comedy Ready or Not is one of the most crowd-pleasing in recent memory, starring Samara Weaving as an everywoman who marries into an old money family and discovers their deeply twisted traditions on their wedding day.
They believe the entire family will be cursed if they don’t hunt an unlucky bride every few generations. In its portrayal of class warfare, it’s more “eat the rich” than “dog-eat-dog,” but it’s also an absolute hoot about the rich staying rich and the rest of us paying for it.
With Weaving’s star-making potential, Adam Brody’s scene-stealing supporting role is all pathos and snark, and the filmmakers keep the action horror moving along with tight, sharp editing that delivers right until the spectacular, guffaw-worthy ending. By Haleigh Foutch
4: The Hunt
The Hunt makes class warfare into a hyper-timely, hyper-political gorefest. In 2016, Universal released a controversial Most Dangerous Game-like thriller that sparked outrage online as a liberal attack movie.
However, Craig Zobel delivers an entertaining horror comedy that takes a jab at assholes, idiots, and bigots from all sides of the political spectrum. There are some very wild choices along the way, and Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof’s script is surprisingly shallow in its consideration of the real-world clusterfuck it skewers.
Betty Gilpin delivers an instantly iconic performance, stacking brilliant but baffling choices on top of one another. Despite my so-so opinion of the movie as a whole, I know I’ll watch The Hunt over and over again now that it’s available early on digital in order to savor every single second of Gilpin’s performance.
For a sci-fi horror that features strangers waking up together in a claustrophobic experience, take a look at Vincenzo Natali’s 1997 film Cube. In the movie, a random group of people wakes up trapped in a cube-shaped room and have to find a way out.
All the cubes are connected to each other, and some of them have deadly traps, including acid showers, triggered by motion, noise, temperature, etc. The plot hinges a lot on the synopsis (it’s pretty proto-Saw-ish).
The theme skews against corporate bureaucracy rather than inequality, but Cube holds up as a gripping thriller about waking up in a total nightmare.
6: Battle Royale
A deadly dystopian nightmare also falls under this banner. A ferociously cynical and gruesome action horror, Battle Royale was putting teenagers in gladiator arenas long before The Hunger Games.
In this dystopian version of present-day Japan, the generational divide has become so deep and hostile that a ninth-grade class of rowdy teenagers has been sent to a deserted island every year. There is only one.
In spite of the fine print being different, Battle Royale shares The Platform’s angst of being trapped in a nonsensical, pernicious system, and it’s also an action thriller that’s knockout in its own right, with its heartbreaking reversals and no-punches-pulled action scenes.
7: The Raid
In Gareth Evans’ 2011 action masterpiece The Raid, you can get a nuclear dose of the same all-out combat thrill that captivated you in The Platform’s action-packed third act.
One of the great on-screen martial artists, Iko Uwais plays Rama, a SWAT officer trapped inside a building with an army of criminals.
As Rama climbs to the top of the building, he encounters criminal underworld intrigue and family-fueled stakes, but that brief synopsis gives you all you need to know about The Raid. There’s no better place to find an epic never-ending battle against impossible odds than The Raid.