Let’s go to school.

The Privilege is a new German film that popped up on Netflix. Can this one break the trend of poor quality the streaming service seems plagued by? Can it? No.

We follow a young man who suffers from long term trauma after he and his sister are chased by a ghostly figure when he is younger. Jump forward and now Finn is a high school/college student with a large circle of friends and a larger circle of experiments going on around him.

We get our norms from the genre of teen scream. Stupidly large groups of friends and overly elaborate parties that lead nowhere. We also get some annoying camera trickier in flashes and blurs that are nothing if not nauseating. Humorously, one of these obnoxious scenes transitions to a blender making an unappetizing mush, which is a good metaphor for this film.

We have part coming-of-age, part horror, part sci-fi, part social commentary, and part stylized film. If you think this is too many genres to manage well, you’re right. The whole thing becomes a mess that is both predictable and confusing at the same time, which I suppose is impressive in a weird way.

The film plays too much with trying to build suspense and create mystery when we’ve seen this sort of film before. I’m not sure if this one is ripping off Invasion of the Body Snatchers or Get Out or The Faculty more, but if you’ve seen any of those films, you have basically seen this one.

Our characters just aren’t stupid, no that would be too normal, here they’re extra stupid. The decision making and reactions just don’t make any sense. We end up dragging the plot along to get to the predictable ending that doesn’t answer anything.

The technical aspects of the film are okay. The filmmakers clearly understand the basic structure of horror and know how to set up the scenes. However, there is something missing. I am not sure if it is a lack of follow through on the set pieces, the decision to just have Finn faint most times he sees something spooky, or if it was simply the lack of emotional investment on my part. The whole thing feels like a horror film without any love behind it.

What makes this worse than a run-of-the-mill horror offering is the shaky story (and shaky camerawork) and the decision to bury the story under forced mystery that simply isn’t there. We never feel like we are discovering something in the film, rather, we’re just being told what to feel as it all unfolds. There may be a tighter experience in here somewhere, but that would require a ton of editing and probably some rewrites.

While not the worst horror movie ever, it is certainly a forgettable one. Just watch one of the better films listed above and you’ll have a better time.

Oh Netflix…

Skip this one.

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