Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Running Time: 85 minutes
Originally, this movie was supposed to be in theaters the same weekend as A-kon, but it was pushed back to the following weekend for whatever reason. Either way, I was still planning on seeing it in theaters.
Once a year, the United States holds an annual purge in the nation. The purge is a 12-hour event where citizens have an opportunity to commit any crime without consequences, including murder. During this time, authorities and emergency services are suspended. Of course, not everyone gets involved in the purge activities. The Sandin family is one example. James Sandin is an inventor of a home protection system that is used to lock down the house, protecting his family from potential intruders. One night, his son Charlie sees an injured man in dire need of shelter and help. Charlie decides to disarm the system and allows the man to enter their home. Unfortunately, this man was a target for a group of masked supporters wanting to bring "justice" to the man. The Sandins have a choice to give him up to the group or join him in death for being uncooperative.
Seeing the preview for this movie seemed exciting, but having our antagonists hiding behind masks and their motivation reminded me of The Strangers. They do have a suspenseful vibe to them as the characters run and hide in their house, but The Strangers was more nerve racking to not only myself but my friends and we don't scare easily.
The concept is quite unique and I kinda wish they explored the origins of the purge. They do mention a few extra details like how it has changed the nation for supposedly the better such as unemployment rates and crime. The event also offers a moral discussion among the family. Before the purge begins and the family is watching the monitors, Charlie asks his parents why they don't participate in the purge, would they if there was someone they wanted to kill, and reasons they support it. For audiences, it might spark some thoughts of whether this would be a good idea to have such an event. Would you take the same risk Charlie did and let the man inside the house or let him be caught by the group?
Honestly, I don't have any major complaints about this movie. There were times of suspense for me and things seemed amusing...for a lot of the time, unintentionally. For those who disliked certain characters, I didn't think they were that idiotic. They might have been the standard horror movie dumb, but nothing as annoying as the follow-up to [Rec]'s idiocy. There are a few predictable moments, but nothing that would upset me such as the twists. Although, there is one unexpected thing that happened that I was surprised about. I wouldn't spoil it for anyone who is interested in seeing it. The villains of the movie were a bit creepy. Perhaps a pale comparison to the trio of The Strangers, but still effective as problematic characters to the Sandins. They also brought a bit of the amusement. One of them seemed like he was trolling the wife throughout the house. I also had a small problem with the unsteady camera angles, but it wasn't too distracting.
Anyway, The Purge is a decent movie. It has flaws and idiotic moments, but it was entertaining for the most part. The thing that made the experience worth it in the theater for me (and my friend) was the audience. We all cheered and yelled and applauded together. I've never been in a thriller movie where the audience shared a similar reaction before and that is truly memorable.
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