The Purge (2013)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:38 AM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 3.8/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

THE PURGE (2013) - James DeMonaco

The year is 2022, a time where the United States is now a new nation ruled by the New Founding Fathers of America. To keep unemployment and crime rates low throughout the year, and keeping the nation pure, the government has instituted an annual 12-hour period called The Purge, during which all criminal activity, including murder, is legal. In addition, all emergency services will be suspended during the twelve hours. It is known as a time where the nation's people are given a release, a chance to cleanse their souls by venting their negative emotions.

The Purge revolves around the wealthy Sandin family, consisting of James (Ethan Hawke), his wife Mary (Lena Headey), and their two children. James is a salesman who has made a fortune selling home security systems that are specifically designed for The Purge. As the family sit through the night, they encounter a wounded stranger who seeks for shelter and, from the acts of the son Charlie, deactivate the security system and let him in. Soon enough, the family encounters a group of masked "purgers," who politely ask the family to hand the stranger over within one hour or else they will break in and kill them all.

Now, I am very sure that the first paragraph sounds far more interesting than the actual plot summary. In addition, the second paragraph does not sound very related to the first, which brings me to the biggest problem about The Purge: Given the fact that the film takes place in a scary alternate future, the actual plot line is just a cliche home invasion flick. Even when the film is assisted with one of the most interesting premises in recent years, the execution (haha) of the film is absolutely lazy. During the first half hour to forty minutes of the film, you will find yourself really drawn into the world and really intrigued. Halfway into the movie, when the "purgers" start breaking in, you start to see the air slowly leaking out of the movie's "plot balloon".

Without spoiling the movie, the wounded stranger was actually let into the house by the son, who looks about 15 years old. It was a very sluggish way for the movie to get the man in the house. Are you trying to tell us the audience that a man who designs heavy and advanced security systems actually made the thing so easy to shut off that even his kid can do it? Why not have the family show an act of kindness at first and then the "purgers" presence make them start questioning their own philosophy? The film can end up being like a character study, an analysis of right and wrong. Again, The Purge has so many powerful things to say, but with the way the filmmakers carried it out, it did nothing to honor its premise, and that is very very frustrating.

For the sake of the film's given materials, having only a $3 million budget, The Purge is a very successful horror film compared to others today. The film grossed over $60 million, and should deserve that amount. 

In conclusion, the film is quite suspenseful at times, the violence is indeed bloody, and there is nothing wrong with the acting, but The Purge inevitably comes off as a film that had so much promise and in the end squandered it all. For me, The Purge deserves a sequel, a chance for the filmmakers to try again and create something far more philosophical and thematic. Hell, The Purge deserves a TV show. I know I would watch it. For sure, the premise is far more terrifying than the actual film. Here's a suggestion for you: Watch the first half hour, then skip to the end credits and listen to the news broadcasts in the background.


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