Psycho Analysis

Is ‘The Platform’ The Most Misunderstood Horror Film of All Time?

The Platform (El Hoyo) is a Spanish science fiction – horror – thriller that is direct and upfront with its blood and gore but seemingly little else on the surface.

Years after its release, this movie has the most divided opinion with the horror faithful and I have seen hundreds of comments online, where people seemed to enjoy the pace of the film but did not really have a firm idea of what the movie was about and kept complaining that the ending made no sense. The panna cotta seems to be forever illusive and the horror fans mostly confused as to its meaning, especially since the Director himself has also been less than forthcoming with answers to the ambiguous ending by choosing to go with the spiel of “leave it up to the interpretation” of the viewers in each interview.

If you are on the confused side and needing answers, keep reading… I got you!

As much as I hate to say it, this is a “thinkers” film and if you have not read Don Quixote or Dante’s Inferno there is a high possibility that you will be scratching your head thinking, what the fuck did I just watch?

The Platform is actually quite a clever film as it is primarily based on social commentary through a central metaphor of how society has entangled itself into a capitalistic trap. It does this by touching on a fair few points of allegory and quasi-religious symbolism while at the same time weaving in a bleak and confronting story about choices. 

We watch Goreng (Ivan Massague), who is initially represented as an idealist intellectual voluntarily enter “the vertical prison” in order to obtain a diploma and to quit smoking, slowly unravel and seemingly become corrupted himself as he has to make those choices through his journey down (and up!)  of each level. At the top, there is a team of chefs preparing a feast seemingly big enough to feed everyone in the hundreds of cells below. We see those at the top get their fill but as the platform goes down, those at the bottom are left with nothing and end up starving. In the midst of all this there is a catch, the pecking order is re-arranged monthly! Choices!

The ending of the film sees Goreng send the child back up on the platform to send the message that the system is cruel and that those at the top cannot be trusted due to their ignorance. It is essentially telling us that human “salvation” and survival depends on being accountable and sacrificing our reliance on a broken system that is making us a miserable species through greed and inequality. The child and the panna cotta ultimately represent a wakeup call and a symbol of hope with the message that those in power set the rules, but they clearly don’t follow them themselves.

Without giving it all away, as much as it is misunderstood, I feel that The Platform may become a cult classic over time as the movie tackles core issues such as power, morality, hope and the human condition.

Written by: Snez Kosanovic


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