Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge
Reminder all emergency services will be suspended for a 12-hour period during the purge
It’s the year 2022 and the United States has changed a bit. The New Founding Fathers of America has recreated parts of society and made it much better with low unemployment rates and crime rates. This is thanks to the annual Purge, a 12-hour period each year were all Americans are allowed to commit crimes and get all their violent thoughts out of their system without being prosecuted for it.
The Sandin family have done quite well for themselves, with the father of the family James having much success in selling home security systems. The Purge of this year though will bring the danger of the outside within the security system of the Sandin family when the son of the family opens up the doors to a stranger in desperate need of help.
There is a big difference in having a good idea and a good story when you are getting ready to write a movie script. The Purge has a good idea, but a bad story. While it can be said that not all of the movies Blumhouse Productions has produced so far has had very elaborate and fleshed out stories, they have had other elements to them that worked and The Purge does not.
It was written and directed by James DeMonaco, who had previously written the scripts for the Assault on Precinct 13 remake and Skinwalkers. His script is very poor having flaws with the characters, the dialogue and where the story was going. It’s hard for a movie to work when you have the good guys do stupid acts time and time again.
Why would the kid actually put the family in danger by letting an unknown enter their house? Why would the daughter run around in the house away from her family when she knows a stranger is in their house? How could they actually lose each other within their own house? Why did, why, why, why, why…
While the Sandin family is played off very normal, the outside youngsters who become the threat of the film is very over the top, running around behaving crazy just for the sake of it, wearing masks just because they would look cool on the poster. The only actor worth paying attention to is Ethan Hawke as James Sandin and perhaps Adelaine Kane as his daughter Zoey, although for very different reasons.
Even if it isn’t a good movie by any means, it has some nice pacing and depending on your fear of home invasion, it does have some thrills and suspense which saves it from ever becoming boring (although it stays dumb the entire time). There is also some attempt at social commentary in the film, but when the movie itself fails then who cares about any type of underlying commentary?
The Purge is a highly flawed movie that had a decent concept, but is executed poorly. It could have been a good film if the screenplay had been done over from scratch, only keeping the basic concept of Purge night and trashing the rest. It is saved a bit because it never becomes boring, but other than that it has zero redeeming qualities.