Director: Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schöde
Writer: Felix Fuchssteiner, Sebastian Niemann, and Katharina Schöde
Starring: Max Schimmelpfennig, Lise Risom Olsen, Roman Knizka, Tijan Marei, Lea Van Acken, Maurice Lattke
Netflix’s latest horror film, The Privilege, is a mix of Get Out and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Finn (Max Schimmelpfennig) and Anna’s (Caroline Hartig) parents go out for a night out, leaving the children home alone. Finn finds his sister with blood around her mouth wielding a bloody knife. She quickly takes him, and they escape the house with a shadowy figure close behind. They abandon their car on a dam, with Anna climbing over the barrier and falling to her death, leaving Finn alone. Years later, Finn is at school living a normal life, but the death of his sister still haunts him.
The Privilege is a film that wastes no time getting going. The opening doesn’t miss a beat in setting up the situation and showing the creature chasing Finn and his sister. It grabs your attention fast and doesn’t let go throughout the opening scene. It doesn’t explain what’s going on, just lets you guess as the shadowy monster chases the children out of the house. It’s a great opening that creates a creepy tone that the rest of the film maintains.
Even when it starts to slow down a little, with the time jump and Finn attending school, there’s still something unsettling about it. Finn’s parents act in a strange way, and you know that everything is not quite what it seems. There are pills that Finn, his other sister who survives the opening, and a couple of friends from school are taking. It’s a prescribed drug, containing a fungus usually found on dead bodies, that is known to give you hallucinations. Whenever the monster starts to creep around it’s not clear if it’s real or a hallucination.
The best moments are when the film is hinting at what is really going on. A strange ritual that Finn sees one night before passing out, his sister falling during gym class and looking worse than death. There’s a great mystery at the centre of it that you want to uncover and find the truth. It’s something that will get you guessing, although you’ll probably figure it all out before the ending is revealed.
Sadly, for a horror film it’s just not that scary. It has a few unsettling moments and a good amount of tension at points, but there’s no genuine fear. It feels like it’s stuck between a teen horror and a full-on horror film. It’s not scary, but there are some gory and bloody moments. You really want it to go all out, when it doesn’t.
While it’s not the scariest film ever, The Privilege does have a great mystery and it’s never boring. It’s entertaining and keeps you guessing enough to make it worth watching.
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