The Privilege Plot Synopsis
The Privilege feels like a whole bunch of horror cliches and tropes thrown together and blended up into a German flick. The story centers on a young boy called Finn, who’s haunted by the memories of his older sister’s death after she died after being seemingly possessed.
Fast forward to the present and Finn finds himself consumed by what happened to him in the past. It seems there’s something going on in town, typified by some strange pills he’s been prescribed, along with supernatural events that begin plaguing both him and his friends. So what’s going on here? Is Finn just losing his mind? Or is there more to this?
What happened in the past to Anna?
In order to understand the present, it’s worth examining what hapenned in the past. With Finn’s parents out with his other sister Sophie, Anna is possessed by a strange spirit that we see haunting the family from afar.
Finn hears growling in the house, and following their origins, finds Anna holding a bloody knife and bleeding from the mouth. She thinks something is after them and drives with Finn out to a large bridge.
Anna tries to convince Finn to jump with her but he refuses, kicking his sister in the face as she pulls at his ankle, falling to her doom.
What’s going on with the pills?
Finn soon learns that the origin of his hallucinations and visions appear to derive from the pills he’s been prescribed by Dr Steinke. After finding a strange parasitic worm inside the pills, he takes it to the science lab and does some research.
This creature appears to be a thread fungus, turned into pill form. It’s known as Necrofungus psilocybelis and normally grows on dead bodies. This was also used heavily in the Middle Ages by witches and shamans for its hallucinogenic properties. Essentially they’re “black magic” mushrooms.
With this knowledge, Finn is encouraged to visit a woman named Eliska Novak who’s an expert in this field.
Why does Eliska do a seance?
After visiting Eliska, she seems to sense something in the boy and experiences those same visions of Anna falling that have plagued Finn for years.
Eliska believes that Sophie is in danger and heads to the house with her special ghost equipment, intending to exorcise the demon she believes is inside Sophie.
Eliska is convinced that Sophie is going to suffer the same fate as Anna. Prior to this, Sophie had been acting strangely throughout the movie, seemingly moving a cup with her mind, having nosebleeds at school and generally acting really bizarrely.
Unfortunately, Finn’s parents return home before the ritual can be completed. Eliska is attacked by the demon just prior to this, sporting visible cuts across her face. With the ceremony broken, the demon is still out there, leaving the fate of this family hanging in the balance.
Is there a cult?
Yes. As the film moves into its final act we learn that Finn’s parents, his sister Sophie and several other parents in town are part of a larger cult. Finn’s earlier visions about his parents wearing robes and moving through the hallway weren’t completely false after all.
The cult itself is shielded under the umbrella of Trondthal, which has been around for centuries and worships malevolent spirits. Their human bodies are essentially used as vessels for evil spirits, which are presented in the form of swirling, horrific black goo.
The pills Finn has been taking are actually to help with the transition process so spirits can move more easily between bodies.
Finn learns all of this when he returns home and finds himself captured and tied up by his parents. They wheel him into the basement where his deceased grandfather happens to be. Finn is the replacement vessel for the demonic spirit residing inside of the old man.
What does Lena find out?
During a separate subplot running parallel to this, Lena manages to break into a company presentation for Trondthal, pedaling their new pills and preparing for mass consumption on the market.
Despite boasting next to no side effects, numerous forum posts online complain about this feeling “like Hell” (a nice nod toward the demonic spirits here!) There’s also an air of Big Pharma and OxyContin to this too, although whether that’s deliberate or not is left up to you to decide.
Anyway, Lena manages to sneak into the basement where she sees the operation firsthand. There are numerous dead bodies with fungal remains stemming out their mouth, along with several workers in hazmat suits extracting the plants to use for their pills. Among the deceased is Eliska.
How is Finn saved from the cult?
As the movie reaches its climax, Finn is at the mercy of the cult. That is, until Lena shows up and saves the day. After dousing all the adults in petrol, she lights a match and burns them all alive. She frees Finn and they head outside and drive off to the bridge, running down a half-burned Sophie in the process.
With the three teens seemingly saved, their car tumbles off the same bridge that took Anna’s life and they breathe a sigh of relief. Its gone. They’re finally safe… or are they?
How does The Privilege end?
As the movie ends, the teens step forward and notice a billboard advertising the pills. They realize this is going global. They’re determined to stop this no matter what… but there’s a problem.
As Samira tails off from the others, she turns toward the camera to show that she’s actually possessed by the spirit. She’s transitioned and unfortunately there’s no way back.
There were clues to this though, linking back to the earlier passage of dialogue between Finn and Samira. She also found out she was adopted and despite Finn checking her mouth for the parasite, it seems it was too early for it to manifest at that time.
So the teens aren’t safe after all, there’s still the threat of the pills being released and the malevolent spirit is still on the rampage too. The ending leaves a lot of unresolved questions, and plenty of potential for a sequel.
Read More: The Privilege Movie Review
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