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About the Movie
If you could commit any crime without consequences, what would you do? From the producer of Paranormal Activity and Sinister, comes an inventive thriller that dares you to survive the most dangerous night in America – The Purge – when all crime is legal for 12 hours. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 140
- Fresh: 52
- Rotten: 88
- Average Rating: 5.1/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: The message just gets louder and louder, cruder and cruder, which is too bad because Mr. DeMonaco knows how to set a stage.
Rotten: Audiences will feel the need for a good cleansing after experiencing The Purge.
Rotten: That old horror-movie standard, a homestead besieged by psychos, gets remixed with a bit of Occupy-era class-conflict satire in the disappointing future-set thriller The Purge.
Fresh: The Purge is mostly a genre picture trying to layer on some prestige by way of social commentary. The latter falls flat; the film is actually stronger when it just goes for our baser instincts.
AN INTERESTING PREMISE THAT FAILS TO DELIVER
"The Purge" is a unique horror flick that's half social allegory, half home invasion thriller. It also boasts one of the most intriguingly original concepts for any fright film in recent memory: on one night each year, all crime is legal in future America. The government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity - including murder - goes without punishment. The police can't be reached and hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry can regulate themselves with no conscience or thought of consequences. That great premise alone certainly packs a ton of potential, especially when brought to life on the big screen, but in this case, it simply falls short. What initially starts out as a blood-pumping, chillingly creepy thriller ultimately turns into a messy, underdeveloped mishmash of numbing violence and tired horror clichés. And unfortunately, it never improves from there. This movie, which takes place in 2022, follows James and Mary Sandin (Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey) as they settle down for the yearly Purge with their teen kids Zoey and Charlie (Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder) in their quiet home. Of course, the purpose of this event is to clean out society's undesirables. So with the homeless and unemployed killed off, the economy is just booming. And James is doing particularly well as a security system salesman. But two interlopers get into their house before lockdown: Zoey's boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller) and a terrified stranger (Edwin Hodge) who's being chased by a gang of masked anarchists. And these psychos aren't leaving until they've collected their target. So now, the only chance of this family staying alive through the night is fighting back, and it won't be easy. First off, I will say that I did enjoy a few things about the film. For one, the acting is mostly solid and, at the very least, mildly engaging. Hawke and Headey are well cast as the healthy, wealthy couple with two distant teens. As their world disintegrates around them, their descent into a more primal state is eerily believable. The kids, on the other hand, are given more eccentric roles than their parents, yet they often come across more as forgettable teen stereotypes than anything else. Hodge has some intriguing moments as the intruder in hiding, but his character is never as developed as it could be. But I have to say that the most impressive performance of the entire film goes to Rhys Wakefield, who plays the leader of the attackers with terrifying, smiling sadism. It's also worth noting that the cinematography can be darkly atmospheric at times, not to mention the swift run time is nicely brisk. But other than that, there's nothing truly great about this film I can genuinely commend. The story itself is just a sloppily executed and tonally unfocused mess, jumping around from one gratingly violent standoff to the next with little consistency. By the middle half of the film, the social commentary just disappears altogether, leaving in its place a trail of half-hearted scares, over-the-top gore, and entirely nonsensical plot twists. Some of the overused tropes in this flick are so laughably bad, it's just mind-boggling how they fell into this script in the first place. And the ludicrously unrealistic dialogue certainly doesn't help things either. Honestly, at the end of the day, it's hard to look at "The Purge" without seeing it as a disappointment that had so much potential. While it starts out as a thought-provoking vision of our society in the distant future, it ultimately tumbles into generic slasher territory, with mechanical uses of suspense and uneven storytelling made at nearly every turn. It's possible that, given the right direction and writing, this could've easily turned out to be one of the most thrilling and ambitious thrillers in recent years. But as it stands, it's a confused, lackluster horror movie that never really seems to get its balance of smarts and scares right. So overall, if you enjoy solid acting mixed with clichéd horror violence, it's worth a rent, but that's it.
Movie had a lot of potential but failed to meet it. The action was good but they could have done way better. Was hoping it to be as good as strangers but not even close. Some good parts but movie could have been 5 out of 5 with better plot/story and more suspense scenes.
A SUSPENSEFUL THOUGHT PROVOKING THRILLER
"The Purge" is suspenseful, perfectly paced, scary, entertaining and thought provoking. I don't understand why this movie got so much hate. I mean yes it does have some bad writing and I'll admit the ending was awful. However compared to all the other recent scary movies to come out "The Purge" is one of the best. Now I do wish it would have been a little bit better at some parts, but I can't say I was disappointed with the outcome. I mean c'mon it's just a movie people don't take it too seriously ok it's just for fun entertainment and that's exactly what it is.