It is a mistake to underestimate the importance of science fiction, horror films, utopias. It is these films that teach us to think, they help to gain life experience and navigate well in an extreme situation. The film “Level 16” directed by Danishka Esterházy was released in 2018.
The 100-minute film takes place in the fictional Vistalis Academy. This is a closed boarding school for girls: beauties are raised from them, they are neat, polite, restrained. But already in the fifth minute of viewing, the viewer will have the impression that this is not a normal lyceum for noble maidens, but some kind of children’s prison, where they teach obedience, submission, silence. Asking questions and having an opinion is punishable. During the hygiene procedure, all students stand in line for one tap with water. Everyone has a clear schedule for washing and rubbing face cream. One of the girls dropped a jar and, due to vision problems, could not use her minutes: the alarm turned on and the poor girl was taken away by security.
Life is extremely simple, future beauties sleep on bunk beds, they do not have bright dolls and big books. All training takes place through TV: the announcer announces notations and encourages them to be obedient and tidy. And they dutifully repeat mantras about obedience, humility. Their task is to take care of their appearance and prepare for adoption. Everyone has a goal – to get into a rich family and find foster parents who will do everything for them. Teenagers are united by one thing – beauty and a perfect face. The main character is Vivienne: she is overly curious.
And then the day comes when Vivien and her girlfriends get to level 16. It’s even darker here: gray walls, video cameras, faceless lamps. Judging by the plinth, the building has not been renovated for a long time. Before each meal, girls are required to take vitamins. Each is given a glass, and a voice from the radio broadcaster speaks of the need to protect health. Children constantly communicate with a tall blonde in her thirties. Miss Brixil is their kind of nanny and curator.
One day, she gives everyone beautiful white dresses, on the belt of each copy there is the name of the child. It will become clear to the viewer that the students cannot read, some of them know the spelling of their names by syllables. After the gray uniform, these are real outfits, they are allowed to put them on before going to bed: today you can sleep dressed! But Vivienne felt something was wrong: she did not drink vitamins and only imitated a dream. Late at night, the guards entered the room, took her and the sleeping Rita. They were transferred to a beautiful office and seated in armchairs. A couple of minutes later, Miss Brixil, Dr. Miro, and an elderly rich couple entered. They carefully examined the faces of the girls, the mature lady liked Rita. And Vivien was taken back to the bedroom.
After that night, no one saw Rita anymore, the main character began to sound the alarm, incite her girlfriends. But the zombified teenagers responded with standard excuses: “Humility is a benefactor, curiosity is a sin.” Vivienne collects information, examines the corridors, studies the location of video cameras. Her goal is to escape. At level 16, she gains a new girlfriend. A girl with Thai features admitted that she stopped drinking vitamins already at the thirteenth level. Sophia concluded that these were simple tranquilizers that work like sleeping pills. Vivienne follows her example, the teenagers unite and develop an escape plan. The key task is to get a plastic card that opens the doors.
Vivien tries to gain confidence in Dr. Miro, goes to see him with minor complaints. She asks for his help and is unaware that he is a villain working for secret investors. Among the girls there is Ava, who acts as the head girl and watches over her friends. She fanatically believes in a benefactor and informs the management about Vivienne’s “unclean” behavior: the poor fellow is thrown into a punishment cell.
At night, the guard comes to the rest room and begins to feel the body of one of the girls. But Sophia pounces on him – a skirmish occurs between them: she hit the pervert with an iron and stole the card. But the result was unsuccessful – when you try to free Vivien from the punishment cell, a general alarm is triggered. The owners of the institution arrange terror against girls. Sophia is now in the punishment cell, and Vivienne is free again. At night, she finds a card in the pillow of a punished friend and secretly sneaks into the basement of the academy. There is an office that looks like a mortuary operating room. And in a distant corner behind a curtain on a stretcher are several oblong bags. On one of them the inscription – “Rita”. It becomes clear that these are corpses, and the skin has been removed from them.
Puzzles in Vivien’s head have developed – they are all donors! She saves Sophia: running together is dangerous and dishonest – they are trying to free the others. Sophia heads to the lower levels while Vivienne goes to Miss Brixil’s office. The girl managed to divert the attention of the warden: she hit her and tied her up, after injecting her with a tranquilizer. A scar is visible on the back of the blonde’s neck – she is one of those who received a baby’s skin transplant. Soon all the captives will find out that they are being raised for slaughter. We must run, but everyone is afraid of the street: for many years they were told that the air is poisoned, they have not seen the Sun since childhood!
Vivien took a scalpel from the operations room – he helped injure the guard and get out into the yard. Some of the teenagers are already in the fresh air, but Sofia and Vivienne are captured by Dr. Moreau. In protest, the main character cuts her face and with this act infuriates the greedy physician: he raised her for 16 years, Vivien was the pinnacle of his scientific activity. The noise and shooting of the guards attract attention, the police will be at the facility soon. Our friends are saved from death by a middle-aged lady from the special services. From her speech, it becomes clear that the events of the tape unfolded in one of the countries of Eastern Europe. But the secret sponsors have not been found, they only have time to finish off Moro, who ruined their investment.
There is no happy ending in the tape – the main characters are injured, they are covered in blood. But their determination gave chances for survival. They saved themselves and dozens of their peers. The picture teaches attentiveness, encourages curiosity and condemns humility. If a child is taught to care about appearance, but his intellect is not developed, then the conclusion is obvious: someone simply needs a young body. We often believe beautiful words spoken by an intelligent person in a suit and tie. But behind such a screen it is easy for an insidious villain to hide. This heavy picture should be shown to your teenagers, children, nephews. This is an excellent cure for naivety and mortal danger.