A horror hodgepodge of cliches
The Privilege feels like a whole bunch of horror cliches and tropes thrown together and blended up into a German flick that almost resembles something serviceable. Between exorcisms, cults, malevolent spirits, seances, kooky mediums and hallucinations is a film crying out for a few more rewrites.
Unfortunately the result we end up with is an underwhelming run-of-the-mill story with under-cooked characters and a distinct lack of horror.
To be fair though, the story here wastes absolutely no time drilling into the heart of the issue. With not one, but two Wilhelm screams in the first 10 minutes, a young German boy named Finn witnesses his older sister’s death after an evil spirit appears to possess her.
Fast forward to the present and Finn finds himself consumed by haunting memories of the past. It seems there’s something going on in town, typified by some strange pills he’s been prescribed and 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?
These questions essentially form the central pillar for which this story moves mechanically from one cliched plot point to the next. While this in itself would be fine, the characters are so stiff and one-dimensional that you’ll have a hard time taking any of it seriously.
Some of this derives from an absolutely bizarre love triangle. Finn and his best friend Lena both like Samira and through the film this is referenced back to several times before an incredulous turn of events results in a hilariously misplaced sex scene in the final act. It’s so ill-fitting that it breaks the mood completely.
Visually, the film looks okay and there are definitely some atmospheric moments here that help to prop this film up. Unfortunately, The Privilege shows the big-bad almost immediately and then consistently through the movie in an effort to drum up some cheap jump scares.
The problem is, it’s never really enough to feel any sort of fear toward what’s happening. That’s particularly problematic because during the seance specific instructions are given to our characters not to look at the malevolent spirit if it arrives. But yet… we’ve already seen it so the whole scene falls flat.
What’s more effective however, is the paranoia this movie tries to derive from flicks like The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There’s a really solid premise in this movie and there are moments that genuinely work really well.
Seeing a school student force a knife into his own mouth is a particularly bloodcurdling moment while finding out what’s happening to begin with is equally memorable. But these sequences are fleeting, and the movie more often than not slips into formulaic waters.
The strong opener and a couple of gnarly moments may be enough to reel you in but unfortunately aren’t enough to keep this one as a very memorable horror flick for long. With a few more rewrites and stronger editing this could have been a really solid flick but unfortunately what we get is a horror hodgepodge that’ll leave you hungry for more.
Read More: The Privilege Ending Explained
Verdict - 3.5/10