Shannon Velazquez says The Privilege suffers from its attempt to blend genres.
[THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS]
The Privilege (Das Privileg) is a German horror mystery and drama co-written and directed by Katharina Schode and Felix Fuchssteiner. The film follows Finn Bergmann (Max Schimmelpfennig), his friend Lena (Leah van Acken), and Samira (Tijan Marei) as they attempt to survive their final months of high school and a deadly conspiracy. Finn has PTSD after witnessing the death of his older sister Anna (Caroline Hartig) at the hands of an evil spirit when he was a young boy. He is constantly at odds with his parents, Martin (Roman Knizka) and Yvonne (Lise Risom Olsen), to prove his sanity. His family believes he’s failing to cope with the death of his sister, whom they believe died in a horrific accident.
The conspiracy begins when Finn finds a rather disgusting bug in the pills he consumes, supplements researched and developed by his father. It’s revealed that all the top school students at his school take these pills. Finn sets out to uncover the dark plot his parents are involved in with the help of his friends. His best friend Lena and love interest Samira are drawn into solving the mystery just as strange supernatural events begin to occur.
Due to the way several scenes are designed, the lighting gives away key plot points. At the school, during numerous exposition scenes, the lighting emits hues of green and yellow, signaling that the teens are safe. During one bloody death scene at a carwash, the lighting shifts to red hues providing a not-so-subtle clue that things are about to turn sour. When the supernatural elements take center stage, there is little lighting that should present a proper sense of dread. However, The Privilege unintentionally gives the audience a cheat sheet, erasing any suspense.
The film leaves something to be desired and suffers from its attempt to blend genres. It’s a slow burn that hits its stride in the third act. While it has an intriguing premise, its delivery is ultimately unsatisfying.
The Privilege is streaming on Netflix and available on digital on-demand from other streaming services.