“The Privilege” (2022): Provocative & Traumatic
This is a review of The Privilege (Das Privileg) is a provocative, traumatic German horror movie that came out on Netflix on February 9, 2022. It’s pretty bad, but it’s also pretty fun to watch.
Opening Scene: Traumatic
The opening scene was fucked up. It took an unexpected turn.
A wealthy boy is glued to the TV. His name is Finn. Finn’s parents leave the house, but he hardly notices. Then his older sister starts going crazy and tells him they need to get out of the house. So they hop in the car and start speeding off into the night. But the weirdest part is when his sister drives over a bridge, stops in the middle, and tries to pull Finn with her over the edge.
So Finn kicks her, and she falls to her death.
Soon, we see police and family hovering over the bodies down below.
Two things bothered me:
- The dad was a bad actor lol
- The boy’s scream when he found his sisters body was kind of dumb
The opening scene was interesting because it was unique, but some parts made me cringe. Well, buckle up. There’s going to be a lot more of both of these things.
Next we go to the main character in his high school life.
Finn in High School
Finn and his best friend Lena are in biology class together. And the teacher is talking about zombie ants. The main character gets kind of weirded out.
Well, actually, zombie ants are indeed a real thing.
Anyway, there’s another kid in the class. Leander. He’s a total dick head. He is supposed to be rebellious, but the comments he makes in class are not even remotely cool. “Fungal sex is my specialty”? Dude, that’s just gross.
Anyway, Leander is throwing a party that night, and Finn (the protagonist) and his friend (Leana) show up, because Finn likes another girl who will also be in attendance.
Oof. So many high school tropes. The protagonist is “the weird one” and his best friend is “the lesbian.” Eyeroll.
I just want to say this about the party: I don’t know what kind of high school kids get a fucking party like this: strobe lights, a disco ball, a DJ in a well-lit empty swimming pool.
Memories: Privilege 2022 Review
If I’m going to do a real The Privilege 2022 review, this next bit needs to be addressed.
Where I grew up in NY, kids would never be drawing that much attention to themselves if they were drinking alcohol. Then again, the drinking age in the US is 21, whereas in Germany, you can buy 1.2% alcohol at 16, and any alcohol at 18. So maybe that part of it is different.
Yeah, yeah, before you start leaving comments about how the Netflix description says it’s an “elite wealthy school,” that information was literally nowhere in the actual movie.
Wild, Provocative Party!
Honestly, this party is basically a full on adult night club. The most sophisticated party I had in high school was a bunch of kids drinking in my mom’s basement. Draw from that what you will.
These kids are acting like full-on adults, like having pro-level, non-awkward sex in the back. I feel like the director may have forgotten what it was like to be a teenager.
But anyway, the party ends with the protagonist taking some drugs, and he has a crazy trip. This sequence was done really well. It was scary!
The music shifts, and then his best friend, “the lesbian,” Lena, is drenched in blood, making out with her dance partner.
Evil Dead Easter Eggs in Das Privileg
Suddenly, the scene cuts to a blender. If you’re a Sam Raimi fan, this cut will look familiar!
They used this cut in The Evil Dead to transition from something scary back to everyday life. And that is exactly what the transition is supposed to do here. So, very neat horror easter egg! I think this blender transition is an homage to Raimi for sure.
Then there’s the monster pretending to be the human it once was. If this seems familiar, that’s because it’s one of the famous scenes in The Evil Dead.
Finn Goes Psycho
Anyway, from that scene on, Finn starts having hallucinations. First he sees an old lady touching his sister, and then he sees his sister screaming for help in a changing room. Both times, his family is like “bro you’re crazy.” Especially the second time when he bursts in on his sister, who is topless.
Of course, Finn only seems crazy until his premotitions start coming true. First, she acts crazy with her boyfriend Ramin. And then she gets a nosebleed and collapses in gym class.
It would seem 18, the same age as Finn’s other sister Anna, is the vulnerable age for girls in his family to die. But why only girls?
The Provocative Threesome Scene
2022’s The Privilege also boasts a sexy threesome scene that I (and probably Lena!) have mixed feelings about. I wrote a piece about the steamy threesome scene here.
The Privilege 2022 Review
The Privilege 2022 Jump Scare Rating:
The jump scares in this movie are so rare that when they do happen, I jump right the fuck out of my seat. Jump scares deserves a decent score here. Nothing super traumatic, but I’m gonna give it a 5/10.
The Privilege 2022 Blood & Gore Rating:
This score is based on how good the blood and gore was in the context of how appropriate it was for the film. “The Privilege” is not a gore-fest. And I’m not saying it should be. But Anna’s dead body looked stupid and fake.
However, I liked the blood from Finn’s hallucination in the party scene, so that brings the score back up.
“The Privilege” is one of those horror movies that only uses blood and gore in moderation, which is fine. But where it did use blood and gore, it didn’t use them well.
Except for the scene with Leander (below). This one was fucking cool. It brought my score up from a 3 to a 5.
The Privilege 2022 Review – Acting:
Finn (played by Max Schimmelpfennig) gave a believable performance.
Lena (Lea van Acken) was good too, even though they gave her some really stupid lines.
But Child Finn and Finn’s dad bring the score back down for every time they made me cringe while I watched. All in all it evens out for me to a 5/10.
Here’s Lea Van Acken’s Instagram
The Privilege 2022 Review – Soundtrack:
Again with the party hallucination scene, but the DJ at the club changed the sound quality when Finn started seeing blood all over the place. I thought the transition worked really well. Otherwise nothing exceptional, but with horror movies, sometimes an understated soundtrack is all you need. Also, extra points for contributing to the jump scares. 7/10
The Privilege 2022 Review – Originality:
It’s weird. In some ways, Netflix’s The Privilege is refreshing and original. However, the film also recycles old horror tropes in ways that make you want to roll your eyes.
Take Necrofungus psilocybelis, a fungus that grows on dead bodies that makes you hallucinate. (for more on necrofungus psilocybelis, click here). I’ve never seen Necrofungus psilocybelis in any horror movie before. The whole concept of tripping out on black magic mushrooms seems like an unusual convention for the horror genre.
Honestly, I also liked the simple fact that “The Privilege” was a German movie. Even just the fact that I was watching a horror flick that was not made in Hollywood was refreshing in and of itself.
The Privilege 2022 – Unoriginality:
On the other hand, the seance scene with the two Russians reminded me that there are only so many ideas in the great idea pool out there, and some are more overused than others. Honestly, I’m tired of seeing seance scenes in horror movies to communicate with dead spirits.
Don’t get me wrong. It actually turned out pretty exciting in the end. But it took me a good minute to get over the fact that I was watching YET ANOTHER SEANCE in a horror movie.
Overall, for originality, again I feel like I’m stuck between loving it and hating it. So for originality in this Privilege 2022 review, I’m going middle of the road with a 5/10.
The Privilege 2022 Review: Ending
Even The Privilege ending was dumb.
At the end of Das Privileg, Finn, Lena, and Samira (the third wheel from their sexy threesome) drive a car off the edge of the same cliff that Finn’s sister died on so many years ago.
When the car goes over the edge, why does it explode?
Why is the explosion green?
These are weird questions that I shouldn’t have to ask when I’m watching a movie.
Then at the end, we see a sign for Trychozepam, the drug that these kids have been taking their whole lives, which has been controlling their minds. Our three heroes march off into the night. They know they will always be running away from the world from now on. Because this company is huge.
All I have to say is they better make some changes for the sequel. The Privilege Part 2 better kill off the dad (or give him acting lessons). They need to cut it with the seance bologna. And they need to do a better job with the jump scares and gore. These are the kinds things I come for when I want to watch a horror movies.