Netflix presents a real-life horror story with Society of the Snow

Society of the Snow - Production Still Image - Netflix
Society of the Snow - Production Still Image - Netflix /

Netflix has just added a harrowing survival tale, and what makes it even more horrific is that it tells a true story. Society of the Snow tells the story of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes while carrying a rugby team to Chile. It is not a documentary, but rather a thoroughly researched dramatization of what the survivors had to endure.

Of the 45 people on board, 29 initially survived the crash, though many did so with serious injuries that would eventually take their lives as well. Two and a half months after the plane crash, 16 were rescued, and they were all that remained of the original 45. What happened to those survivors is a grueling and terrifying tale of survival.

I have always been of the opinion that many true crime and true survival tales belong in the realm of horror, and the story of Flight 571 is a perfect example of that. You may have read the book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors, or you may have seen that film adaptation. The tale has also been featured in numerous documentaries, and this film is based on Pablo Vierci’s book of the same name. Vierci wrote his book using the accounts of the 16 survivors, many of whom he had known since he was a child.

For those not familiar with the story, here’s what throws it into the realm of real-life horror: While trapped in the mountains for 2 and one half months, the survivors not only endured freezing cold with only the shattered remains of the plane for shelter, blizzards, avalanches and crushing despair, they were also starving to death. Eventually, they had no choice but to resort to eating the remains of their dead friends and family members. It’s worth noting that most of the survivors agreed that, should they die, they were ok with their friends eating them.

Society of the Snow
Society of the Snow - Courtesy Netflix /

Society of the Snow is extremely well made, with excellent acting performances (the actors spent a lot of time with the remaining survivors) and of course, a riveting, heart-thumping story, but parts of it are extremely hard to watch. The plane crash scene is harrowing, as is the avalanche (which happened 17 days after the actual crash), and injuries are depicted realistically.

It was directed by J. A. Bayona, who also directed 2007’s excellent and very creepy ghost story film The Orphanage. Society of the Snow can only be streamed on Netflix, and I highly recommend watching it.