“The Privilege” is a too-predictable German mashup of a couple of horror genres and several paranoid thrillers, all underscored by the big idea in Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.”
Hey kids, your elders are taking away your future, and not just with economics and environmental dimwittedness. Think “succubi.”
Finn (Max Schimmelpfennig of “Dark”) is a haunted teen who is still dealing with the childhood trauma we witness in the opening scene. He saw his older sister die after a mad sprint and drive into the night with her shouting (in German with subtitles, or dubbed), “We can’t let it GET us!”
He’s still under a doctor’s (Nadeshda Brennicke) care, still medicated, still watched warily by his parents (Lise Risom Olsen, Roman Knizka). He sees things — flashbacks, and what might be hallucinations. Whatever “it” was ten years before, he sensed it just as surely as his dead sister did.
“You all think I’m crazy, right?”
Maybe his gay BFF Lena (Lean van Acken) believes him. Maybe his crush Samira (Tijan Marei) would, if he ever got up the nerve to ask her out.
But his parents? Was that them he say carrying out some sort of ritual involving his twin sister Sophie (Milena Tscharntke)?
“What? What are you talking about?” Is it all in his head? Does he know
gasbeleuchtung is the German word for “gaslighting?”
We do. Well, maybe not the German word thing. But pretty much every other plot point and action beat in “The Privilege” — as in “You’re part of a most privileged generation, you know.” — we see coming from 22 kilometers off.
The science class about “fungi,” the Russian “experts” in hallucinogens, the DIY “exorcism,” all of it seems cut and pasted from a dozen other pictures.
Even the dialogue has a stultifying over-familiarity, from “We can’t let it GET us” to “You all think I’m crazy” to “Take this, bitches!”
The leads are game enough, with van Acken having the “fun role” and Schimmelpfennig forced to do the suffering, investigating and heavy-lifting. Nobody else makes much of an impression beyond the tropes and archetypes they were hired to be.
The definition of movie “comfort food” is filling your film diet with the undemanding and overfamiliar. “Privilege” is cinematic sauerbraten. But if that’s your thing, “Guten appetit!”
Rating: TV-MA, violence, drug abuse, sexual situations
Cast: Max Schimmelpfennig, Lea van Acken, Tijan Marei, Milena Tscharntke, Lise Risom Olsen, Roman Knizka and Nadeshda Brennicke.
Credits: Directed by Felix Fuchssteiner and Katharina Schöde, scripted by Felix Fuchssteiner, Sebastian Niemann, Katharina Schöde and Eckhard Vollmar A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:44