Review: The Purge
In the year 2022, America has changed, sort of. There is still a lot of unnecessary patriotism and ugly planned communities, but the economy is flourishing and crime and poverty are at incredible lows. This is all because on one night of the year, there is no law, and people can exorcise their internal demons by vandalizing, raping, and killing. Security salesman James Sandin gathers with his family inside his locked house during the annual purge, but things are not as secure as they think, and they are forced to fight to survive the night against a group of psychotics.
Who’s in it?
Ethan Hawke, a year after starring in the eerie horror flick Sinister, plays a father once again, while his wife is played by nerdom star Lena Headey (Game of Thrones, The Sarah Connor Chronicle, 300). Both are wasted, sadly, and an attempt by Rhys Wakefield to play a creepy, deranged villain fails.
There is such emptiness, such laziness, and such great stupidity making up The Purge that to hate it would be a waste of emotion – it’s not worth it. Head-scratchingly bad, and filled with unused potential, especially when it comes to the two leads, this film written and directed by James DeMonaco is less a movie and more of a simple idea scribbled on a barroom napkin, that should have stayed there.
A labored beginning that shows us that everyone is comfortable with a 12-hour period where killing is cool sets up the Sandin family as relatively normal if not incredibly clichéd. Father is proud of his work, son is weird and awkward, daughter fools around secretly with a boy, and wife, well she is just really attractive.
As they shutter their doors and windows, they aren’t as secure as they think, especially since they can’t keep their insubordinate and idiotic kids in line. Both screw up big time and jeopardize the family a night where you’re going to want to be very careful. You can buy the premise, but within this alternate world where New Founding Fathers have instituted the purge, a movie goer cannot simply forgive the stupidity of the children.
Their dumb acts are simply a lazy means to create a problem, but the laziness continues throughout. Action clichés abound, even though there isn’t much action. We have villains standing over their prey talking way too much instead of killing, and we have family members talking too much when they should be running and hiding. We have children being stupid then apologetic, we have father suddenly becoming an action hero, and we see the cold hearted turned warm.
All of this is set against the not-so-subtle economic themes that are meant to be more interesting than they really are. The purge may simply be a way to eradicate the poor in this society, and those that are well off can be safe, and those that have-not cannot. The Sandins don’t feel the need to murder, or do they? Who cares? All of it falls flat with a deafening thud in a wasteful, forgettable, and egregiously feeble summer film.
Should You See It?
No, not now, not ever, no matter how tempting or decent it looks. We cannot let anything like this be made ever again.
“Well be fine just like always, no worries.” Oh, how ominous!