Film Review: The Purge (2013)

Also known as: Vigilandia (working title)
Release Date: May 2nd, 2013 (Stanley Film Festival)
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Written by: James DeMonaco
Music by: Nathan Whitehead
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder

Platinum Dunes, Blumhouse Productions, Why Not Productions, Universal Pictures, 85 Minutes


“Incoming reports show this year’s Purge has been the most successful to date, with the most murders committed.” – Newscaster

*written in 2014.

I watched this film and its first sequel back-to-back. I will follow up with my review of the sequel shortly.

As for this film, the first in The Purge series, it was pretty mediocre and the premise was so unbelievable that I had a hard time buying into it.

For those who don’t know the premise, basically ten years from now the United States government is run by some douchebags called the New Founding Fathers and they implement a thing called “The Purge”, which is an event where one night per year from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., all crimes including murder are legal. Why would the government do this? Well, it cuts down on crime the rest of the year, as people are allowed to get their built-up aggression out for one night. Also, it somehow solves all of our economic woes and makes America some utopia. The writers must have no clue about how economics works. Also, almost everyone buys into this insanity like it is a new religion.

Frankly, this film is trying to make a political statement but what that statement is, I am not sure. It is basically Hollywood liberal propaganda taken to such an extreme level that I wouldn’t be surprised if the studio stole this whole premise from an eleven year-old’s LiveJournal account. If this could happen in America, which it never would, more people would rise against it than support it. Reason being, even if this country is in bad shape and there is extreme polarization on almost every issue nowadays, most people are still inherently good and wouldn’t condone such savagery. Especially people with kids, which is nearly most adults.

I’d hate to keep harping on the bad premise but in no way does it work. Now if it was a scenario like Escape From New York or Arkham City or this premise was some response to a major natural disaster or a zombie outbreak, I could’ve bought into it a little better. Also, if it were more than just ten years in the future, I probably would’ve taken the bait. In the end, it is just an adolescent’s ill-plotted wet dream on screen.

And for a film that was basically guaranteed to be a murder-spree, this film wasn’t. Sure, a bunch of people do end up getting killed but it takes a hell of a lot of time to get to that point and when it happens, it is basically just the home invaders. The premise and the setup had you waiting for bloody chaos. What you got was a family hiding in closets with television sets.

The acting was okay, the villain kid was actually not bad and I liked his style and overall presentation, the cinematic style was effective and the kid actors weren’t horrible. The plot thread about the bum hiding in the house was annoying and more than half the film was spent searching the house for a hobo.

There was a plot twist at the end. It sucked and just added to the bullshit insanity of this whole shitshow. It’s as if the filmmakers thought that they were being clever. They weren’t.

I tried to forget about the premise and lose myself in the film and just accept what was playing out from scene-to-scene but nothing made sense. It was a film made to shock people… unintelligent people. Like the people who liked Paranormal Activity and all these other slew of modern horror films that would be better suited making coasters than actual playable DVDs.

I didn’t hate this movie; I just couldn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t cringeworthy; it was just an 85 minute waste of my time.

Rating: 4/10
Pairs well with: Other Purge movies.

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