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REVIEW: The Privilege


 The Privilege is a German horror that focuses on Finn (Max Schimmelfennig), who endured a traumatic experience as a child.  Some sort of demon sent his sister into a right tizzy, causing her to want to hurl herself and Finn off a large damn.  She wanted to cut her mouth or something, and Finn, now a teenager, sees a therapist to help him get past that horrible event.

Finn's best friend is Lena (Lea van Acken), and they navigate through high school together.  Lena is supportive of her bestie, who has a big crush on Samira (Tijan Marei).  Finn isn't the coolest of students and gets bullied a bit by a guy who calls Finn a freak, even though there really isn't a lot about Finn's high school life that would make him a freak.

At home, he is battling against suspicious events and bizarre moments.  He is also plagued by generic modern horror sound effects, but he is oblivious to this, even though we, the audience, are bashed over the head with it.

In one of his classes, we are introduced to Chekhov's Fungus.  A foreboding lesson on a fungus that controls it's host is interesting, but it really spoils what the movie has in store for its reveal.  Finn and his friends try and find out what exactly is going on, leading to a high school age three-way in an abandoned pool.

There is a lot of the mythology in The Privilege that isn't communicated in the most concise of ways.  As a viewer, I learn that some sort of society of evil people use a fungus to take over someone's body to absorb the soul of another person.  However, that process itself involves a demon dust being coughed up and then entering the host.  So, what is it?  Is it a fungus that is important, or is it demon cough droplets?  I was never quite sure, and as the movie progressed, I felt more and more departed from the core concept.

The acting in this film is probably its biggest strength.  I liked Finn, Lena, and Samira, even if I didn't quite understand why a pharmaceutical press conference fit with secret societies and demon dust.  Directors Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schode have some elements that are very intentional at being key to understanding the evil plot, but miss their intended goal.  Thankfully, the actors are able to still make this bit of plot mess palatable.

With the past number of years that have seen an increase in horrors of higher qualities, The Privilege lands short of what it is trying to be.  I really felt like this was attempting to be 'elevated horror,' a term that I don't like.  I believe that the core concept was possibly very interesting, if only I could truly understand all of the elements.  This may be an indication of my weak brain not being up to the level needed for elevated German horror, or it could be that the attempt made with The Privilege was just too scattered.  You really have to watch it to find out for yourself, but I don't recommend that you do.

Rating - 2 out of 4 stars

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