SOCIETY OF THE SNOW on Netflix is a survival thriller from J.A. Bayona (org. title: La sociedad de la nieve). It’s based on the true story of a plane crash in the Andes, where a Rugby Team survives by eating those who die. Read our full Society of the Snow movie review here!
SOCIETY OF THE SNOW is a new Netflix thriller based on a true story. It’s a Spanish-language survival thriller from J.A. Bayona (org. title: La sociedad de la nieve), which makes perfect sense as the real people also spoke Spanish.
The story focuses on the rugby team from Uruguay. They are on a plane heading for Santiago, Chile, but the plane crashes in the Andes and they are forced to eat their dead to survive. The story was also the subject of the 1993 movie Alive.
And yes, I think it’s good this one was made as well. The runtime is 2 hours and 24 minutes with the final part of the movie focusing on key aspects of the aftermath for those who survived.
Continue reading our Society of the Snow movie review below. Find it on Netflix on January 4, 2024.
72 Days in a Freezing Hell
It all begins on October 13, 1972, when a rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay, boarded Flight 571 to Santiago, Chile. They’re heading to Chile to play a game and with many of them being students about to graduate and start their “real” lives, this is a chance to be with friends.
As they make their way through the Andes, something suddenly goes terribly wrong. They’re not far from their destination at all, but the plane will never make it there. Instead, it crashes deep into the barren and snow-filled mountains.
Twelve people died during the crash with a lot more fatally injured. As the sun rises on their second day trapped in the snowy and freezing cold Andes, only 29 are still alive. It would be another 71 days before they’re rescued. By that time, only 16 survivors are left.
I’ve never seen a plane crash like this before
In Society of the Snow, we witness the actual plane crash in a scene that I’m not likely to ever forget. Not only does the plane come apart and people are flying out at brutal speeds while still strapped into their seats, we see the actual crash.
That may be one of the single most brutal plane crash scenes I have ever watched. As the plane impacts with the snow-covered ground, it goes without saying that everything moves and shifts. Something we don’t usually see in movies.
With J.A. Bayona at the helm of Society of the Snow, we see everything. Seats are being pushed together and people getting crushed between them. Bones break and people get impaled by whatever is flying through the air. It is brutal, unlike anything I’ve watched before.
Or actually, J.A. Bayona managed to do something with similar realism in The Impossible which covered the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He clearly has a respect for showing the heartbreaking reality of these tragedies.
And yes, in Society of the Snow, there is still a focus on making the impossible decision to start eating those who have died. It’s a key element of the story, but even more so is the will to survive and do whatever you can to keep everyone alive.
Also, if you think the actual plane crash is brutal, just wait until the snowstorm and avalanche hit them!
Do watch Society of the Snow on Netflix!
This Netflix movie is an adaptation of the 2008 book La Sociedad de la Nieve (“Society of the Snow”). This was written by author and journalist Pablo Vierci. He was a college classmate of the plane crash survivors.
Also, Pablo Vierci co-wrote I Had to Survive: How a Plane Crash in the Andes Inspired My Calling to Save Lives with survivor Roberto Canessa. Interestingly, J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage) discovered that book as he was preparing to shoot The Impossible (2012).
He knew he wanted to make this one as well, and worked on it closely with author Pablo Vierci over more than 10 years. The result is as terrifying as it is important and memorable. I especially liked how it also focused on the actual rescue and the time immediately after this.
How do you go back to a normal life after having endured 72 days of surviving by doing the unthinkable and being close to freezing to death on multiple occasions?
Also, while we still have to endure watching an American actor, surrounded by various British dialects, portraying a historical French Emporer, I am thrilled to see a Spanish-language take on a story that involved Spanish-speaking people.
Finally, I want to highlight how there is a constant focus on the victims. We see their names and ages as they fall victim to the cold and their injuries. It’s a very honorable and important way to make sure we never forget that this happened to real people.
Society of the Snow played in select theaters in December before coming to Netflix on January 4, 2024.
Director: J.A. Bayona
Writers: J.A. Bayona, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaime Marques, Nicolás Casariego
Stars: Enzo Vogrincic Roldán, Matías Recalt, Agustín Pardella, Tomas Wolf, Diego Vegezzi, Esteban Kukuriczka, Francisco Romero, Rafael Federman, Felipe González Otaño, Agustín Della Corte, Valentino Alonso, Simón Hempe, Fernando Contigiani García, Benjamín Segura, Rocco Posca
In 1972, the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, chartered to fly a rugby team to Chile, catastrophically crashes on a glacier in the heart of the Andes. Only 29 of the 45 passengers survived the crash and finding themselves in one of the world’s toughest environments, they are forced to resort to extreme measures to stay alive.