Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review - The Purge (2013)

Starring Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey and Rhys Wakefield.
Directed by James DeMonaco.

When I first saw the trailer for The Purge, I thought that the premise looked very ridiculous and it looked to be another boring horror movie. Well let's just say that I was almost right. The film stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey as James and Mary Sandin; your typical happy suburban family who lives with their two kids Charlie (Max Burkholder) and Zoey (Adelaide Kane).

What drew many persons like myself to The Purge was not its cast but its premise. America was entering a state of Dystopia but it was saved and reborn by the New Founding Fathers (government) who introduced the purge. The deal was, in order to maintain low crime rates and unemployment - they established an annual 12-hour period in which murder and every other illegal activity were totally legal. Humans are able to "cleanse" themselves of hatred just for this specific time period. So if you really hate someone - now is the best time to kill them because it is totally legal. The Sandis family shacks up in their home and plans to wait out the Purge but unexpected events followed and the family finds themselves fighting for their lives.

The movie opens up showing different purge feeds highlighting what is taking place all around from a previous purge. I was hoping this movie would follow along this path for the rest of the film but instead The Purge disappointed me greatly when it became just a typical home invasion film. Imagine this, the nation is allowed to do illegal stuff for twelve hours and the movie writers still failed to capitalize on this concept. Instead, the whole movie takes place in the Sandis's dark home with the family fighting for their lives and making moral decisions. It's quite obvious they wanted this to be like a horror movie; the dark shots and the creepy characters lurking around are proof of that. Why not give us purge activities happening outside the home as well? The director should have ran with the concept fully and made this more of an action movie in my opinion. By the time some excitement started happening in the house, I was already quite bored. However I did enjoy the few shooting sequences which occurred.

What marvels me about The Purge's concept was how the Founding Fathers were able to pull off this ridiculous idea and have the nation go with it. I can see how it would curb the crime rate, but not so much help the economy. Anyways, the movie focuses on the Sandis family the whole time and a few not so interesting outside characters (like the weirdos in the masks and the black guy). We get to know the family but after the purge began, I didn't give two shits about them anymore. I blame the writers for this; the movie transitioned into generic horror territory and I just lost all interest because it seemed more focus on providing cheap scares. Overall the acting was okay but as I stated, I just didn't care about the characters after the purge began. On the flip side, at least the friendly neighbors made it a tad bit interesting at the end.

The biggest downfall of this movie is that instead of showing us the exciting events of what could have been The Purge - they just locked us up into a dark house with the Sandis family. An interesting premise but this was lazily written and made little impact.

Rating: 5/10

Movies Also Watched:

Dead Man Down (2013)
Not a bad story-line and acting but could have used some more energy and thrills. - 6.5/10

The Call (2013)
Surprisingly tense and engaging when Halle Berry was on the phone. - 7/10

Bull Durham (1988)
Good performances with some fun baseball scenes. However the movie drags a bit and didn't feel special afterwards. - 7/10

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Lovely rotoscope animation with a twisty story-line and a good script. Great casting too. - 8.5/10

Penelope (2006)
A quirky rom-com that became a bit disjointed towards the end. - 6/10

Angel Heart (1987)
Decent unsettling noir thriller with an underlying story and twist. - 7.5/10

Idiocracy (2006)
I enjoyed this funny, silly and dumb-ass dystopian satire. - 8/10


  1. Good review! You know what I find annoying is when there is a great central idea and a decent cast and they still manage to mess it up...

    1. Thanks Erik. They know they'll still make money so the effort isn't really there

  2. Good review Shawna. The movie obviously didn't cost a lot to make, but at least it could have done more with itself. Also, how freakin' big was the house they were in!??!

    1. Now that I really think about it, it was quite huge for a family of 4 lol. Thanks Dan