Latest Movie News Headlines

Review: The Purge

Jun. 5, 2013by: Eric Walkuski

PLOT: A family must fend off a gang of psychopaths in a future where the U.S. government has sanctioned one night a year to be completely lawless - anyone can commit any crime they please.

REVIEW: The biggest problem with THE PURGE has been apparent since the trailers first arrived: the filmmakers have taken a truly fascinating premise and done little more with it than make a predictable and derivative genre movie. Writer-director James DeMonaco reels us in with a tantalizing pitch: one night a year, all crime is legal. Murder, rape, breaking and entering, whatever. All of our pent up rage is unleashed and, presumably, were the better for it later on; cleansed of our collective anger on that night, the rest of the year is almost free of crime.

The possibilities are numerous - and perhaps thats a daunting proposition, which may explain why DeMonaco opts to treat us to a thriller in the mold of STRAW DOGS or THE STRANGERS. To his credit, DeMonaco fashions a serviceable thriller that moves along quickly and efficiently. It just could have been so much more.

Its the year 2022. A new regime in the American government called the New Founding Fathers have created The Purge which, as explained above, acts as the equivalent of a massive, violent primal scream on the part of the citizens. Some say its a tactic to wipe out the poor and infirm, since the easiest targets are the homeless, the sick, the weak. Whatever its true intentions, the Purge evidently works, as unemployment is at an all-time low and society is functioning more or less benignly .

Who are these New Founding Fathers and how did they arrive at this improbable idea? Well have to wait for another PURGE to find out; the movie isnt so much interested in exploring the hows or whys - its content to use this ambitious concept simply as a jumping off point for predictable home invasion thrills..

The people who have it good, like the Sandin family at the center of the story, are able to install elaborate security systems in their homes, effectively barricading themselves inside for Purge night, which lasts about 12 hours. Ethan Hawkes James Sandin is actually a home security salesman, so he finds the Purge quite beneficial: it has paid for his familys gigantic house and lavish lifestyle. Its difficult to tell if Hawkes constant vocal support of the Purge is because he believes its achieving the desired effect, or if its because it puts money in his pockets, but his family appears to be uneasy with the event, especially his inquisitive son, Charlie (Max Burkholder).

Its Charlie who springs the storys action into being when he saves a wounded vagrant (Edwin Hodge) from a pack of crazed killers intent on murdering the man. Once the vagrant, who may or may not be dangerous himself, is trapped in the Sandins home, the freaks outside threaten to Purge the entire family unless they give him up.

These villains are indicative of the movies short-sightedness: wearing scary masks ala THE STRANGERS, wielding machetes and shotguns and ominously playing in the front yard, theyre typical horror movie weirdos who would seem psychotic Purge or no Purge. When your movie is about a night that ANYONE can commit murder, why focus on clearly maniacal creeps who would fit right in with the Manson family? Wouldnt it be more interesting to see everyday people taking part of the Purge? Whats it like out in the real world, where well-adjusted folks are temporarily going insane? (DeMonaco does hit on this idea briefly toward the very end, but its he botches the execution, which leads to more laughs than gasps.)

Essentially, THE PURGE is yet another hide-and-seek movie where a family has to thwart intruders who sneak around the house and pop out of dark corners. DeMonaco is adept at staging lingering scenes of suspense, and a few of the jump scares work pretty well. The film is well-made from a technical point of view, with Jacques Jouffrets cinematography proving to be an eerie highlight. in the third act, DeMonaco gives the audience plenty of stand-up-and-cheer moments, as the family finds the strength to defend themselves against the frightening odds.

But once its all over, the only thing that really sticks is the disappointment of the wasted potential. Recently it was announced that the producers (including Michael Bay and genre specialist Jason Blum) are preparing a sequel. I shudder to think that itll be more of the same; these guys should really be thinking outside the home invasion box and seek out the true possibilities the central idea of THE PURGE provides them with.

Source: JoBlo.com

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

3:23PM on 08/25/2013
BURN EVERY COPY OF THIS FILM...ITS AN ATROCITY! check out you're next way better then this disgrace to filmmakers, filmgoers and film lovers
BURN EVERY COPY OF THIS FILM...ITS AN ATROCITY! check out you're next way better then this disgrace to filmmakers, filmgoers and film lovers
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:55PM on 06/07/2013
here's a fairly even headed review
[link]
here's a fairly even headed review
[link]
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
10:53AM on 06/06/2013

It's not horror, it's science fiction.

And I couldn't disagree more, I was bowled over by this little indie gem. The point is not to revel in its own premise, as horror movies do, because that makes the experience fun. This isn't supposed to be fun, it's supposed to make you think about some serious issues concerning the representation and desire for violence in American society. It ties in perfectly with current debates on gun control but isn't really exclusively about guns. It's a tight, solid, allegory on an unspoken aspect of
And I couldn't disagree more, I was bowled over by this little indie gem. The point is not to revel in its own premise, as horror movies do, because that makes the experience fun. This isn't supposed to be fun, it's supposed to make you think about some serious issues concerning the representation and desire for violence in American society. It ties in perfectly with current debates on gun control but isn't really exclusively about guns. It's a tight, solid, allegory on an unspoken aspect of modern society. The last thing I want is to see this turned into the Saw sequels. I'd advise watching it with a more open mind.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:45PM on 06/07/2013
In order to take this premise with any degree of seriousness, one has to watch the film with a mind so open that their brains fall out. The reason that this aspect of modern society is unspoken, is that it doesn't exist, which goes to my previous comment about hilarious political screeds such as this arguing passionately against points that no one is making. So yeah, it's science fiction all right.

A desire for violence in America? Who exactly is clamoring for more violence in American
In order to take this premise with any degree of seriousness, one has to watch the film with a mind so open that their brains fall out. The reason that this aspect of modern society is unspoken, is that it doesn't exist, which goes to my previous comment about hilarious political screeds such as this arguing passionately against points that no one is making. So yeah, it's science fiction all right.

A desire for violence in America? Who exactly is clamoring for more violence in American society? How?

For an allegory to be solid, it has to be representative of something that's actually happening in reality, as opposed to the fabrication of imaginary issues. What's interesting to note here however, is that the hypothetical future "free crime day" scenario they've concocted most closely resembles today's Detroit; the crown jewel of leftist socio-economic policy unfettered.

A commenter at io9 brought up an excellent point. If all crime were legal one night out of the year, why waste your time with murder and home invasion? Why not rob a bank or embezzle some funds? Hell, why not do some wingwalking, or barnstorming, or base jumping off the Empire State building or something fun like that?


11:43PM on 06/05/2013

I want to support for the sequel

Looks like a slick version of Series 7, but with no guts. The concept of the Purge itself is fantastic, so the idea that we just stay inside this house the whole time, get generic creepy home invaders...very disappointing.
Looks like a slick version of Series 7, but with no guts. The concept of the Purge itself is fantastic, so the idea that we just stay inside this house the whole time, get generic creepy home invaders...very disappointing.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
5:04PM on 06/05/2013
Movies about home invasions to me are very boring and predictable. I read the premise & was intruigued at first but like the review said, the trailer made it into something different & not what is expected. YOU make a movie suppossedly about people who can commit crimes for 12 hours but you focus on one dull family who will probably make every classic movie cliche possible. Sorry this movie is guilty of false advertising.
Movies about home invasions to me are very boring and predictable. I read the premise & was intruigued at first but like the review said, the trailer made it into something different & not what is expected. YOU make a movie suppossedly about people who can commit crimes for 12 hours but you focus on one dull family who will probably make every classic movie cliche possible. Sorry this movie is guilty of false advertising.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+4
4:40PM on 06/05/2013
his concept could have worked better in a Traffic-style movie with multiple storylines
his concept could have worked better in a Traffic-style movie with multiple storylines
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+3
4:36PM on 06/05/2013

the premise of this movie sets up for infinite sequels

i haven't seen this... but.....

you have a mild mannered family. their house is invaded during the Purge of 2013. they kill the mom (or son, or daughter, or whatever). the dad survives. he spends the next year training to get his revenge for the Purge 2014.
i haven't seen this... but.....

you have a mild mannered family. their house is invaded during the Purge of 2013. they kill the mom (or son, or daughter, or whatever). the dad survives. he spends the next year training to get his revenge for the Purge 2014.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+4
4:16PM on 06/05/2013
I would guess the reasons for this film being so confined are production value reasons. Budget, fewer actors, smaller scope. This film doesn't come off as having huge studio backing, hence the lowkey promotion of it. Perhaps if this does decently, they will make a second film that expands on the scope, but I actually don't see this film doing all that well as it comes off as very mediocre.
I would guess the reasons for this film being so confined are production value reasons. Budget, fewer actors, smaller scope. This film doesn't come off as having huge studio backing, hence the lowkey promotion of it. Perhaps if this does decently, they will make a second film that expands on the scope, but I actually don't see this film doing all that well as it comes off as very mediocre.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
3:39PM on 06/05/2013
This premise has bugged me from the day I first read it.

I have a feeling our (USA) dopey society will give this a decent box office.
This premise has bugged me from the day I first read it.

I have a feeling our (USA) dopey society will give this a decent box office.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:53PM on 06/05/2013
If the idea of society going nuts is what interests you then skip this crap and check out The Signal instead.
If the idea of society going nuts is what interests you then skip this crap and check out The Signal instead.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:41PM on 06/05/2013

Michael Bay . .

"the master of horror!"-optimus prime
"the master of horror!"-optimus prime
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
+0
2:36PM on 06/05/2013
This is essentially what I thought when I first read the synopsis . Why just limit the activity to a single dwelling , by the usual suspects , when there's a whole world of possibility there to be had ? Too bad .
This is essentially what I thought when I first read the synopsis . Why just limit the activity to a single dwelling , by the usual suspects , when there's a whole world of possibility there to be had ? Too bad .
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:25PM on 06/05/2013

A fascinating premise, or just moronic?

This film appears to be a not so veiled attempt to comment on the horrors of lack of regulation and lawlessness, an attack on the incorrect stereotype of Tea Partiers and Right Wingers. You can hear the imaginative lefty talking points laced in there ala New Founding Fathers trying to eliminate the poor and infirm, a trait that historically tends to manifest out of the left, though I digress.

The problem with these kinds of lefty social diatribes, is that they always seem to
This film appears to be a not so veiled attempt to comment on the horrors of lack of regulation and lawlessness, an attack on the incorrect stereotype of Tea Partiers and Right Wingers. You can hear the imaginative lefty talking points laced in there ala New Founding Fathers trying to eliminate the poor and infirm, a trait that historically tends to manifest out of the left, though I digress.

The problem with these kinds of lefty social diatribes, is that they always seem to passionately argue against points that no one is making. Would anarchy and lawlessness be horrible? Sure. But who's arguing in favor of that? Republicans, Libertarians, and other right of center folks argue in favor of limited or manageable government, which is entirely different and separate from notions of anarchy and a total absence of regulation.

But the leftist can't seem to distinguish between the two. For them it seems, government is an all or nothing venture. So this premise ends up being about as moronic as Elysium, in which $65 Million net-worthed Matt Damon preaches to masses about the haves and have-nots in a tiresome nagging allegory about the imaginary conflict between the 99% and the 1%.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
2:17PM on 06/05/2013

So much potential

Like you said above, great premise, but used in a cliche way. There are already fanmade stories that are inspired by this premises online (and pretty damn good). Personally, I would LOVE to see a sequel where one of the founding fathers' or a politician's car breaks down in the middle of the road (with his family inside) on the eve of "The Purge" and having to hike home while experiencing and witnessing the horror that the protagonist is in favor of while protecting his/her family. Think of
Like you said above, great premise, but used in a cliche way. There are already fanmade stories that are inspired by this premises online (and pretty damn good). Personally, I would LOVE to see a sequel where one of the founding fathers' or a politician's car breaks down in the middle of the road (with his family inside) on the eve of "The Purge" and having to hike home while experiencing and witnessing the horror that the protagonist is in favor of while protecting his/her family. Think of "The Road."

I digress (sorry, my mind wonders).. But yeah, so much could be done with this premise. I'm not hating on the movie, I just don't see anything worth spending 8 dollars for. Hope the movie does well, just not for me.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:53PM on 06/05/2013
I disagree. Throughout this review, you keep on criticizing the film because it could have been "so much more." I'll just borrow a quote from someone: Criticize the movie for what it is and not for what it isn't. Sure, the filmmakers could have done a lot more with its interesting premise, but within its limited budget, the film has things to say that I felt was thought provoking and interesting to discuss about after it ended. Overall, I think it's a surprisingly good film, and the ending is
I disagree. Throughout this review, you keep on criticizing the film because it could have been "so much more." I'll just borrow a quote from someone: Criticize the movie for what it is and not for what it isn't. Sure, the filmmakers could have done a lot more with its interesting premise, but within its limited budget, the film has things to say that I felt was thought provoking and interesting to discuss about after it ended. Overall, I think it's a surprisingly good film, and the ending is cleverly subversive.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:31PM on 06/05/2013

Um Ok

Interesting take on the future but I am weirded out by the fact that the girl masks look just like Hillary Clinton
Interesting take on the future but I am weirded out by the fact that the girl masks look just like Hillary Clinton
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:59PM on 06/05/2013
Really surprised with the average review and score. I think the film looks good and was hoping it would have gotten a better review. I guess I'll find out how good it is this weekend.
Really surprised with the average review and score. I think the film looks good and was hoping it would have gotten a better review. I guess I'll find out how good it is this weekend.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:43PM on 06/05/2013
Your shtick is getting old bro
Your shtick is getting old bro
5:11PM on 06/05/2013
Sorry I would not waste my money on a movie like this. You do know it's ok NOT to like a movie right? Every movie can't always look good.
Sorry I would not waste my money on a movie like this. You do know it's ok NOT to like a movie right? Every movie can't always look good.
12:41PM on 06/05/2013
After reading that review, one thing stuck out to me, Michael Bay's name
After reading that review, one thing stuck out to me, Michael Bay's name
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:30PM on 06/05/2013
If it is legal to do this horrible shit one night a year, why wear a mask?
If it is legal to do this horrible shit one night a year, why wear a mask?
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
1:22PM on 06/05/2013
Probably to avoid the surviving victims to seek revenge during the following Purge...
Probably to avoid the surviving victims to seek revenge during the following Purge...
+13
12:23PM on 06/05/2013

Anthology franchise

It's a shame to hear that it's sitting in the middle.. If they make a sequel, set it in the exact same night, but from the perspective of someone else and have a different story structure each time. It could be a franchise of the same night, just from different perspectives in different parts of America, resulting in a diverse collection of different types of horror movies.
It's a shame to hear that it's sitting in the middle.. If they make a sequel, set it in the exact same night, but from the perspective of someone else and have a different story structure each time. It could be a franchise of the same night, just from different perspectives in different parts of America, resulting in a diverse collection of different types of horror movies.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:55PM on 06/05/2013
I like this idea a lot.
I like this idea a lot.
12:18PM on 06/05/2013
This could've been a whole different movie...how society reacts to the possibility of "anything goes" the streets transformed into a real life Grand Theft Auto
This could've been a whole different movie...how society reacts to the possibility of "anything goes" the streets transformed into a real life Grand Theft Auto
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:08PM on 06/05/2013
Seemed like a fresh concept, but when you think about it, its just a clever spin to churn out another home invasion movie - which is a tired idea.
Seemed like a fresh concept, but when you think about it, its just a clever spin to churn out another home invasion movie - which is a tired idea.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
12:03PM on 06/05/2013
Good point. When the threat can be anyone from your next door neighbor to any closet sociopath that waits patiently for the event every year, it can potentially bring more horror to the tale than you can imagine before. Heck, the idea that someone would actually do something so terrible then completely move on with his/her normal lives like nothing happened 12 hours later brings its own chill to the story.
Good point. When the threat can be anyone from your next door neighbor to any closet sociopath that waits patiently for the event every year, it can potentially bring more horror to the tale than you can imagine before. Heck, the idea that someone would actually do something so terrible then completely move on with his/her normal lives like nothing happened 12 hours later brings its own chill to the story.
Your Reply:



Please email me when someone replies to my comment
View All Comments

Latest Movie News Headlines


Top
Loading...
JoBlo's T-Shirt Shoppe | support our site... Wear Our Gear!