The 2022 Netflix horror movie ‘The Privilege’ (Das Privileg) starts off with a sandman like villain in the opening scene that sets pace for a bizarre/creepy thriller involving parasitic supernatural elements. Directed by Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schode, the film stars Max Shimmelpfenning as troubled teen Finn Bergmann, who was mentally scarred after watching his older sister’s die. Years later, when his twin sister starts to get sick, Finn starts to see eerie things and begins to investigate if there’s something try to harm his family or if it’s just his imagination.
While the story begins on an interesting note, complete with a gruesome death, but the series of events that unfold next are convoluted and mix too many things at once. The story has slices of horror movies/series like ‘Hereditary’, ‘Get Out’, ‘Stranger Things’, ‘Conjuring’, among others. So there are mental health issues to be dealt with, houses to escape from, suspicious pills being passed around, strange ugly entities lurking under beds and gloomy looking teens trying to get laid while also figuring out how to fight supernatural beings.
Max Shimmelpfenning looks a little old to play a teenager, but since his character is pushed to premature adulthood due to childhood trauma, he manages to be convincing as the angst-ridden Finn Bergmann. Lea van Acken as his best-friend/side-kick provides some color and life to the screen in the otherwise serious-looking cast. Tijan Marei who plays Finn’s crush Samira was an almost pointless character, squeezed into the script to just give us some romantic moments. Although funnily, Finn has more chemistry with his lesbian best-friend, than Samira.
Things get silly when the kids approach a woman to research on something, and she turns out to be some sort of psychic who can communicate with spirits/demons. What promised to be building into an intriguing sci-fi horror, descends into tropes from the 1980s that are snooze-worthy. The film does have some gruesome scenes that will make you flinch, but it never gets scary enough. And while there was a good twist towards the end, the climax was laughably silly. It will leave most viewers with a sense of disappointment.
While it’s laudable that the makers attempted a new concept, too bad they couldn’t resist blending their novel plot with the same old things we are used to seeing in horror movies.
It’s a 5/10 from me.
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