Cosplay, Comic-Con and Culture


‘The Purge’ Review



Posted June 7, 2013 by

I would be lying if I said I didn’t ‘enjoy’ The Purge. I use the term enjoy in a light context because I think I like it for a bit of the wrong reasons. In case you don’t know, the story takes place in 2022. Crime is at an all time low, and unemployment is at 1%. Life is good in America. Because every year, for twelve hours, all laws are nullified and chaos reigns.

Ethan Hawke stars as James Sandin, a family man and security system salesman. He lives in a big house in a gated community and all his neighbors own one of his systems. Sandin has a wife named Mary (Lena Headey) and two children, the oddball son Charlie (Max Burkholder) and a daughter, Zoey (Adelaide Kane) who feels it’s a necessity to always wear her school girl uniform. Their normal safe Purge night is interrupted when Charlie allows an unknown stranger, played by Edwin Hodge, into their bunkered down home. Soon the people after this stranger are at the Sandins’ doorstep, and the nightmare begins.

Sort of. My first immediate thought about The Purge is its humor. I found myself laughing far more often then jumping. I really couldn’t tell sometimes weather the movie was unintentionally funny, or if it was trying to poke some fun at its obviously ridiculous premise and character actions.

The Purge, for all intents and purposes, certainly isn’t a terrible movie, its just an incredibly predictable one. Any horror fan worth their chops will probably call this movie scene by scene, and the wanna be “twist” at the end, sort of falls flat by the overall absurdity of the character’s actions. For the most part, however, The Purge is pretty entertaining.

What probably works the best about the film is the acting. Everyone is having fun with their respective roles and no one seems to be taking things super seriously. Rhys Wakefield plays the head of the group chasing Hodge’s character. Rhys is one of those villains that is so inherently evil that it’s actually funny. His calm smiling demeanor at the beginning just makes you want to scream, “Don’t trust that guy!”, but of course this is not a horror film that plays on the side of logic. In fact, the movie pretty much requires the main characters to lack any common sense in order to continue the story and in that way the film just goes through many of the normal motions of a home invasion film.

Now, The Purge itself is centered on a pretty outright political message and the filmmakers don’t seem to try and mask it. Nothing about the Purge’s political statements are exactly subtle. Of course, they are never exactly clear either. One of the film’s major shortcomings is its own disinterest with the actual idea of The Purge. Sure, the young son questions the need and the parents feel like it’s for the best, but none of it is ever really talked out or discussed and that really is a shame. The concept of crime one night a year does seem ridiculous but it raises interesting moral questions that are brushed upon but never fully touched. Part of this may be because of the films short 85 minute run time, which conversely is a good thing since the movie would have gotten dull had it been much longer without any more substance. In the end it sort of feels like a half a movie, but at least it’s not the boring half.

If The Purge ends up doing well enough this weekend, then a sequel is entirely possible. I couldn’t care less about the family in this film, they are all kind of douche bags in their own ways. That being said, having a new family deal with the actual morality of the situation may be a bit more interesting. The film is fun, but falls back on every horror cliché in the book and thus, restrains itself from being something unique. It’s a decent cheap thrill, but it is nothing more.