The Purge (2013)

Posted: September 1, 2013 in Movies

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Imagine a world where crime is at an all-time low. Citizens have learned to get along and behave themselves. The reward? A free 12-hour pass to commit any and all crime without punishment or judgement. This is the premise of James DeMonaco’s latest film ‘The Purge’.

The story centers around James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) who has quickly amassed a small fortune selling high-tech, impenetrable security systems to homes – specifically designed for protection during the annual event. As the evening of the purge approaches, James and his family lock down their home to ride out the storm of crime, murder and mayhem.

All is not as safe as it seems, though. For starters, James’ daughter Zoe (Adeleide Kane) finds that her boyfriend has  hidden himself in their home before the lockdown begins. He tells her of his intentions to “work things out” with her father (who disapproves of their union), but his goal is something far more sinister.

The second problem is that Sandin’s son Charlie (Max Burkholder), while watching a helpless stranger on the street (through the bank of surveillance monitors), makes the moral decision to help by temporarily disarming the security and letting the man in to the house.

Thus begins the transition from “interesting concept” to “predictable home invasion movie”, but the premise fights hard to remain relevant, and – for the most part – succeeds.

The stranger was the target of a small mob of young adults, who somehow have the force and know-how at their disposal to break through Sandin’s fortress. Feeling entitled to their “kill”, they are hell bent on getting the stranger and finishing their hunt.

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The film throws a few moral questions at you. The characters battle these questions of right vs. wrong (each in their own way), and without giving too much away – to varied results. I’m not exactly sure what “message” DeMonaco was trying to get across, but once the plot started twisting itself into knots, I’m not sure he really cared.

That’s not to say the film wasn’t enjoyable. There were plenty of thrills and surprises along the way, but the subtle hints injected throughout made the conclusion a little predictable. Sure, there were the typical thriller/horror story gaps, as well as a few scenes that didn’t really need to be there – but by and large the film succeeded in taking an interesting script and keeping the viewer involved throughout.

I recommend ‘The Purge’ for those that are looking for a bit of a “real” scare. In an age of paranormal overkill, the concept was fresh, the acting was above par, and the complete experience was far better than expected.

Just don’t over-think it.

6.5/10

Rated R for language and violence. Available on DVD/BluRay October 8th

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