Friday, August 12, 2016

The Purge (2013)

 James DeMonaco

WRITER: James DeMonaco


Ethan Hawke
Lena Headey
Rhys Wakefield
Max Burkholder
Adelaide Kane
Edwin Hodge
Arija Bareikis
Tom Yi
Tisha French
Chris Mulkey
Tony Oller


Set in the near future, the Sandin family have started to settle in for the night during the annual purge. The Purge is the celebrated yearly event where all crime is legal for 12 hours. When the families teenage son lets a homeless man into their home during the purge for shelter and safety, he also brings with him a murderous syndicate who want to kill him, and if the family doesn't abide by their demands, they will even kill the entire family.

When I initially watched The Purge about three years ago, I wasn't a massive fan of the movie. I found the film to have a fascinating concept that had so much potential behind it but fell apart towards the end of the film. It's now three years on, and after watching the movie with the two new sequels to take into consideration, I found that I enjoyed the movie more this time around. I did, however, find out that I'm still not a big of the way the movie concludes.

The winning aspect of these Purge movies is still the overall concept behind them. It's the very idea that in the future, the government that is sworn to protect the populace has allowed a night of which any US citizen can go out and commit any type of crime which includes the most heinous of them, murder, is a terrifying thought. It's probably one of the scariest concepts as it's not too hard to imagine in our climate that it could actually take place.

The first of The Purge films is probably the most horror-centric of the franchise. It's a mixture of home invasion meets survival horror. The next two movies while still very much horror movies in the overall scheme of things decide to take the series in a bit of a more action orientated direction. The two sequels open up the 'Purge' world from the confines of a mansion and into the streets and cities of our nation. I liked that the two follow-up films lend a grander vision for The Purge series.

What I enjoy about the first film is the murderous syndicate known as 'The Freaks'. It's led by up and coming Australian actor Rhys Wakefield. A very charismatic young actor who can also play sinister extremely well. His role within the film is what lends this movie the most intense moments, and it's a testament to how talented an actor he is, hopefully, Rhys gets more roles where he plays the bad guy as he does it very well. I hope to see his career take off in the US.

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headley are also excellent in their respective roles. Ethan is fast becoming an actor to go to for horror films. He seems to be in everything these days. Some choices are a lot better than others. Here in The Purge, he does well with his role. Lena Headley has the most fun, and her final scenes at the end of the film had me cheering and hollering. The scene at the table where she breaks someone's nose is hilarious. The woman can do no wrong in my eyes.

The Purge has a few intense moments, and a couple of strong jump scares. Most of the creepiest moments in the movie that had me on the edge of my seat and had my blood pumping were the scenes once 'The Freaks' had managed to gain access to the mansion. This is where the violence hits an all-time high in the film. While the gore and bloodshed are never extreme, it's a lot of fun to watch Ethan Hawke smashing an axe into someone's spine.

My biggest issues that I have with the film all come down to the third act of the film. The film feels like it's going to build to something substantial and it sort of just ends and it feels somewhat disappointing. Once 'The Freaks' get into the mansion, it's filled with a few quick murders and is all intense for a few minutes when the film decides to throw in what some will consider a twist, and it all just turns to shit. The ending feels like a copout. The audience deserves better than that.

Lastly, my other issue with the film comes down to the writer's character decisions. I know the plot requires 'shit to hit the fan'. That it needs to get to the point that will escalate the story. Yet, it's such an annoying thing when a character does something that you know you wouldn't do and the rest of the characters wouldn't do, but him being selfish or selfless in this case causes mass casualties. It's just a moment that makes you want to see that character die but the movie allows him to live and it's just really annoying.



- People are shot in the head.
- Footage of people being shot.
- Footage of people being beaten up.
- Someone is shot in the face.
- Someone has their nose broken.
- A man is seen bleeding out.
- People are mowed down with machine guns.
- An axe in the back.
- A large knife to the stomach.
- People are shot in the stomach with a shotgun.
- Someone is shot in the chest and face.
- A letter-opener is inserted into a bullet hole.

The Purge is a movie that on first viewing, I wasn't a big fan of it. After watching this movie for the second time and after seeing both sequels. I have found that I enjoyed the film more this time around. The movie isn't immune to problems as the movie has a pretty abrupt and simple ending as well as some of the dumbest character decisions that I've seen in quite some time. Still, if you can get past those issues, the concept and acting in the film is worth the watch.


  1. I liked this movie the most out of the purge films. The only movie in the films that felt like a horror movie. Like You're Next style.

    1. I agree on the movie feeling most like a horror film. I won't deny that. The sequels just feel more epic and a lot more fun for me personally.