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The Purge (2013)

  Tags: Blumhouse Productions, Edwin Hodge, Ethan Hawke, James DeMonaco, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Platinum Dunes, Rhys Wakefield, survival, The Purge, thriller, Universal Pictures, Vigilandia

Your rating: None Average: 7.1 (7 votes)
Reviewer Rating: 
5

thepurge.jpg
Rating #: 
5/10
Director: 
James DeMonaco
Runtime: 
85 minutes
Cast: 
Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, Adelaide Kane


The Purge is a film that took a lot of flak around its release due to the fact that it offered such a great original concept, but turned it into a standard home invasion thriller. Although a lot of potential was lost in the process it wasn't as bad as a lot of viewers had made it out to be, so my going in with incredibly low expectations left me somewhat satisfied, despite its many problems. Though it still wasn't enough to warrant a more positive outlook.

The story is set in an alternate future where the government has sanctioned a 12-hour event which allows all and any crime to be legalized. It's a time where the hospitals are closed, police are nowhere to be found, and people are left to do as they please without any consequences. Apparently by allowing this to happen, death and violence throughout the rest of the year is very minimal, if at all. The focus is set on a privileged family that are well prepared for the event or at least they thought they were.

Sometime during the night a man is seen and heard crying for help. The young son of the family decides to take the opportunity to aid the man by opening the security doors and allowing him access to their home. Naturally this doesn't bode well for the Father (Ethan Hawke), which is further solidified when a large group of masked and heavily armed strangers (<- get it?) come knocking at their door asking to give up the man or else they'll break in and kill everyone inside. Unfortunately a seemingly easy decision is made much more difficult by the fact that nobody has a clue where the guy is hiding.

It's sad to see such an interesting concept turn into such a standard and mediocre genre tale. What makes matters worse is the fact that there are really no likeable characters. The young boy and his sister are both incredibly illogical to the point of being annoying, especially with the stupid decisions they make throughout the film. Namely from the boy, who actually continues to aid in hiding this stranger even though it's made clear that they will all die if he's not given up. And I don't know if it was just me, but I could care less about the parents.

A majority of the movie is just the family hunting for the man in the home, while the masked crew are just chilling outside. They don't attempt to break in until the last 20 minutes, which hurts the pic since the pacing suffers and we're thrown a lot of little annoyances from certain characters. By the end we're given some ridiculous half-assed twists that obviously only exist to further extend the life expectancy of certain people, along with the running time, which is ironically rather short, being only 80 minutes (not including end credits).

Even though this wasn't an entirely good film, I liked the concept and some other ideas behind it, but it just wasn't enough to justify its many faults. However, there's still a lot of potential and different avenues to explore, so a sequel is actually in the works. I'm hoping it focuses on the homeless and underprivileged and how they survive through the event because they are the true victims here.

The Purge is an interesting, but problematic film that offers a great concept, but poor execution. What we have is essentially just a standard home invasion thriller amidst an ambitious theme. Had the filmmakers gone a different route it could've been a much better pic, but as of right now it's nothing more than a mediocre effort.

Posted on September 16, 2013 - 3:06pm | FrighT MasteR

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