The Purge

Heard about this movie on the Youtube review by one of the movie reviewers I follow and I decided to check it out. The concept seemed very interesting and intriguing and I just had to watch the movie for myself. The Purge is a 2013 thriller movie starring Ethan Hawke & Lena Hedley and set in the year 2022. The US has become a more prosperous nation, with crime and unemployment rates hitting an all-time low, after a new rule has been implemented – The yearly purge! Once a year, for 12 hours  all criminal activity (including murder, theft, and rape) becomes legal. The only rules are that government employees of a certain grade and above are exempt from being targeted and no weapons of mass destruction are allowed. The purge is meant to cleanse yourselves of negative energy and emotions and direct it to whoever you dislike.

Yes on paper it sounded good. James Sandin is returning home to his huge house on the evening of the purge. James is a successful home security salesman in San Francisco and has made a huge profit of selling the security system – with cameras & metallic “butts” blocking any possible entrance once activated – to his neighbours and has recently added an extra wing to his house. Like a neighbour, Mrs. Grace Ferrin, says to James’s wife Mary – the gossip is that the neighbours practically financed the new wing. After dinner, the Sandins prepare for the lockdown and at 7pm an Emergency Broadcast System message appears on television, telling the United States the rules of the Purge and that all police, fire, and hospital aid will be shut down for the 12-hour period. Sirens start blaring outside, commencing the start of the annual Purge, which is a period when all crime is legal and emergency services remain suspended. With the house fortified, the Randins go to do their separate things. Son Charlie uses a camera on a doll in his remote control and a pair of glasses connected to the camera to check the video reports of the purge in progress. 18 year old daughter Zoey finds her older boyfriend Henry, hiding in her room as he had snuck in before the lockdown. Henry plans to speak to James, who does not approve of their relationship, during the purge as he cannot be thrown out of the house while it is still in progress.

Charlie sees a bloodied man out in the streets pleading to be let in and the sympathetic boy deactives the security system and calls out to the stranger. James sees this and reactivates the systems again but the stranger is able to get in just as the systems closes again. At the foyer James holds the stranger at gunpoint when Henry comes downstairs and pulls out a gun and shoots at James (it seems his plan was to kill James thus removing the hurdle for his relationship with Zoey). The stranger runs away and hides inside the house, while Zoey pulls hey dead boyfriend’s body to her room. Leaving Charlie & Mary in his den, James goes to look for Zoey and the stranger. Suddenly a group of masked assailants, led by a Polite Leader (no name mentioned) arrive at the house looking for the stranger. They threaten to kill everyone inside unless the family surrenders the stranger, whose homelessness they claim makes him a good candidate for purging. James then admits to Mary that the security system works more or less like a deterrent and will not withstand a big attack on the house. Using the RC car Charlie guides the Stranger to a secret hiding place but Zoey also goes there and is caught by him. James arrives and subdues the stranger, planning to turn him over to his pursuers outside. However, the Sandins have a change of heart after realizing they are becoming essentially no different from the purgers outside. Finally the assailants attack and tear down the metal walls and enter the house, and the Sandins are forced to defend themselves.

James hunts down and fights with some of the gang members and kills 3 of them but is himself stabbed by the Polite Leader. Mary is captured by 2 of the remaining 3 assailants and is about to be killed when her neighbours – led by Grace and her husband come in to the aid of the Sandins and Mr. and Mrs. Halverson shoot & kill the assailants. Mary runs to find a dying James and is about to be killed by the Polite Leader but Zoey walks in and shoots him dead. As James dies, Mary and her children thank their neighbours – now joined by two more – but they then state that they plan to kill Mary & her kids, taking advantage of the Purge, for this patriotic duty happens to coincide with their hatred for the family’s wealth. The stranger then comes in and kills one of the neighbours and holds the other neighbours at gunpoint. Mary states that she won’t kill any of them as there has been enough killing for one night. They wait out the rest of the purge sitting at the dining table  and in one last desperate act, Grace tries to grab Mary’s gun, but Mary violently subdues her. At 7am the siren blare again, signalling the end of the purge and the neighbours leave followed by the stranger. Mary and her children watch as emergency services vehicles arrive outside and take away the dead bodies. there is audio from radio broadcasts stating that this Purge was the most successful due to the record high number of murders, with stock markets opening high, due to the release of aggression and sales of home defense systems and weapons.

The execution of the film lacks in excitement, real tension and the feeling of horror/dread. The acting is not up to par and why does Zoey keep disappearing all the time? The assailants are given a scary feel with the creepy masks but there’s too little attention on the to make it more effective, while their leader is only affective in you wanting to smack that stupid grin off his face. The film ends up feeling too short. For it’s low budget of $3 million it did make $83 mil. and is considered a success but it’s not really that  good. 6 outta 10!

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