The Purge (2013)
Starring: Ethan Hawke,
Lena Headey, Max
Edwin Hodge, Rhys Adelaide Wakefield
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Running time: 85 Minutes
Quick summary (from IMDB): In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
All of last week, there were news reports of a possible Purge-like event taking place in
. Apparently, a flier had been circulating that
indicated that a Purge would be taking place Friday August 15th frsom until the following morning. It all turned out to be the work of a teen and
nothing much actually came of it, but for a few brief hours/days, the internets
were abuzz. #LouisvillePurge was trending nationally and worldwide for a little
while on Friday night, and people were tuning into the police scanner online to
try and hear accounts of the mayhem and mischief that was taking place. There
were reports of a giraffe being freed from the zoo and “troublemakers” with
masks on walking around, but little else. After about a half hour of listening
to the sporadic and rather mundane reports coming in on the scanner, I made my
wife turn it off. Louisville, Kentucky
I had planned for us to watch The Purge as the supposed #LouisvillePurge was taking place, but after realizing this was just a hoax and another case of people on Twitter making a big deal about nothing (or just business as usual for Twitter), I decided we should just watch the movie instead. Initially, I had no desire to watch The Purge when it came out in 2013. It didn’t look all that interesting to me, like just another home invasion horror movie and I didn’t really feel like I had to see it. I’d seen The Strangers and liked it, and figured that was enough for me. But with the buzz, the sequel that came out earlier this summer and the fact that it was apparently making people act stupid and/or overreact to Internet memes and hoaxes, then there had to be something to it.
Of all of the horror movie subgenres, home invasion movies are probably the closest to actually being scary, especially if you are watching them late at night at home with all of the lights off. Home is supposedly a safe place, and to have that safety compromised or threatened is awful. And being trapped in a house with nowhere to go and crazies in masks with guns and bats and machetes hell-bent on terrorizing and possibly killing you is terrifying. I’m always a little bit more on edge watching a home invasion based horror movie than I am with almost any other horror movie. They just get under my skin a little and make me uncomfortable.
The Purge reminded me a lot of The Strangers. Both featured good looking people under attack by crazy masked people in a seemingly safe house and both featured the most unsettling scenes in a home invasion horror movie. In the Strangers, there was a scene of Liv Tyler standing in the kitchen, and a hooded/masked man was standing just out of focus in the darkness behind her. Just thinking about it gives me chills. The Purge used that same effect, with a bad guy just out of focus where only we could see him while the main characters were completely unaware. You just want to yell “BEHIND YOU!” at the character, but you know it’s no use.
The leader of the group attacking Ethan Hawke’s house is one of the most politely disturbing people I have ever seen in a movie. He was so kind in the way that he spoke, but the things he was saying were anything but kind. He addressed Ethan Hawk and Lena Headey as Mr. and Mrs. Sandin and gave them every opportunity to comply with his demands and threats. He was even credited as Polite Leader. It was crazy. There is no way Rhys Wakfield could (or should) ever play anything but evil.
The Purge takes place in a slightly futuristic
. It’s set in 2022, but it feels very realistic.
Technology is slightly evolved from present day, but everything else is
basically the same. There are no flying cars or crazy weapons or anything else.
It’s just that the country has instituted a (completely bizarre) 12-hour crime
spree to cleanse the system and get rid of all other crimes and problems. It’s
a fascinating idea and makes for an interesting and different movie. America
Nothing from the 85 minutes of The Purge made me want to go out and loot and murder and run amok, nor did it make me wish the government would actually instate such a ridiculous and crazy plan to make all crime legal. It was a movie and it was entertaining. At the very least, it was far better than listening to a police scanner and reading fake updates and dumb jokes on Twitter.
3.5 out of 5 stars