After seeing the disturbing but effective trailer for this potentially spookfest, you would think that they would answer the questions about The Purge, but instead it’s turned into a 85 min Brinks Security ad with good acting and spurts of brutal violence.
Let’s be certain that the premise was intriguing, It’s America, 2022 (9 yrs away, kind of gives me chills) the country is economically booming, unemployment is at 1 % and everyones seems to be strangely happy to be alive and well. Maybe, it’s because of an annual 12-hour Purge thanks to the New Founding Fathers passing this bill a few years back. Once a year, people get out their hate and frustration. Ethan Hawke and TV’s Sarah Connor, Lena Headey, are James and Mary Sandin. James just recently sold a high-quality, top of the line security system across his neighborhood, making bank and giving his family a better life. Some though, may not be cool with it.
The film does make good use of putting the audience in front of security cameras witnessing the savageness of the Purge. Writer-Director James DeMonaco does craft some shocking but necessarily brutal, realistic violence. Even though the world does seem safe, it still channels human emotions between fear and gun-toting survival.
Sure, come on in. Can I get you anything? (cocks gun)
However, this is now the second movie in a row where a movie suffers from its cheesy philosophical dialogue (I’m talking to you, After Earth). It just feels ripe for satire, so much so that I felt like I was in Demolition Man. Similarly to this, excluding the Purge storyline, was plenty of laying on the cheese with sayings like “Have a safe night.”, “Let us purge.”, and my favorite, “We have no reason to purge, son.” Yeah, like they are angels with halos which change in a matter of minutes after meeting a bunch of crazy sword-wielding, gun enthusiast preppies that look like something off Gossip Girl. Just more charisma but not enough depth. I swear to you, I wanted to hear someone say “Be Well” or “Greetings and Salutations.”
Oh, yeah that takes me back. Be well.
There is reason to this only costing 3 million to make. Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum and DeMonaco do what they can with the cheap budget, but unfortunately it collapses under its own inspiration, using the premise as window draping for an occasionally creepy, exciting home invasion thriller. But, then I recommend you walk out or you will suffer through one of the worst endings of the year. This ending makes another home invasion thriller, “The Strangers” look like the “The Usual Suspects” Trust me, it’s that annoying and wasted.
Don’t get me wrong, the performances are solid across the board, especially by the leader of the preppie sadists, Henry (played by former Disney Channel star, Tony Oller), who oozes unsettling patience but then shows what he’s capable of. I could have easily nitpicked the idiocy of the characters, but I won’t. Still, a lot of credit to Edwin Hodge for rising above a one note character of survival composed of little talk and all emotion through his facial expressions. I can’t dismiss that everyone else turns to either someone purging or being killed.
My mask? Oh, I just wanted to show you my Mark Wahlberg impression from Fear. Good, huh?
The Purge has the excitement of a late night 2am film on a Saturday night. Intriguing premise, solid cast, and a touch of realism to the violence and mayhem balance out the cheesy dialogue, thin characters, and one of the worst endings of 2013. I do have one recommendation, if we go this way in the future. You’re in a steel-enforced house, don’t open the damn door. Trust me.
Take a Drink: every time you see a character look at a camera
Do a Body Shot: when you see a creepy half doll on wheels.
Grab a 32 oz: every time you see one of the Sandin family do something stupid
Shotgun a Beer: when you witness the ending, I’m telling you- you will need it.