Society of the Snow is Netflix's first movie hit of 2024, but don't sleep on this action thriller

A man looks forlorn in the snow in the Netflix movie Society of the Snow
Society of the Snow proved to be a big hit for Netflix. (Image credit: Netflix)

Society of the Snow, Netflix's terrifying survival thriller that's based on real-life events, is the streamer's first big movie hit of 2024.

Per Netflix's in-house Top 10 charts for the week running January 1 to January 7, the J.A. Bayona-directed movie debuted at number one – albeit on the non-English language chart – with 22.9 million views following its January 5 release on the world's best streaming service. That accounts for a whopping 55.8 million hours viewed, too, and positive word of mouth might keep Society of the Snow in the upper echelons of that chart in the weeks ahead.

Based on the book of the same name, the film tells the tragic story of a 1972 plane crash that saw the survivors stranded in the snowy Andes, far from help and even further from home and forced to resort to cannibalism to survive. As we noted when Society of the Snow's first trailer dropped in November 2023, it's chilling realism means you can feel the temperature drop as you watch it. Expect it to join the ranks of our best Netflix movies list shortly.

While the snowy thriller is a big hit in the global charts, though, there's another less serious but highly entertaining movie topping the English language film charts – and it's a good choice if you're looking for something with more explosions and less people-munching. 

What action movie topped the Netflix English-language charts?

The number 1 movie in the English language charts was Denzel Washington's The Equalizer 3, which has racked up 14.8 million views (26.8 million hours streamed) in just one week. Those figures were large enough to to put it ahead of Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire and Leave The World Behind, which dropped to number two and three respectively. Despite being knocked down a couple of pegs, however, these two new Netflix movies have stayed the distance on Netflix's movie charts, proving their popularity as they have done so.

The Equalizer 3 is a pretty formulaic sequel to its 2018 forebear, but it delivers its gun-toting formula well and with considerable style, which explains its relatively high 76%  and 94% critics and audience scores on review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes. Indeed, Radio Times' Jeremy Aspinall said: "franchise director Antoine Fuqua delivers plenty of tense, no-nonsense stand-offs and staccato bursts of mayhem", while FilmWeek (KPCC-NPR Los Angeles)'s Tim Cogshell opined "you watch these movies for the same rush you get from a superhero film, except Denzel is not a superhero and he doesn't need to be." 

It wasn't universally praised, mind you, with Newsday's review commenting the "films have always been junk; they’re based on a mid-1980s TV show that was no great shakes to begin with". The Chicago Reader wasn't thrilled either, noting that "Denzel seems to be sleepwalking through every scene that doesn’t involve gouging and/or stabbing". Overall, though, it seems pretty clear that if you like this kind of flick, you'll be satisfied.

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.

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