4 July 2013

The Purge

One night a year all crime is legal - including murder. This is called 'The Purge'. In 2022 (not that far from now) America's government has introduced this event in order to regulate crime rates and boost economy by letting their citizens run riot for 12 hours a year. The whole evening becoming a cathartic process for those who have been waiting to release their primal urges that have been locked up for an entire year and not fear the consequences of their actions. All emergency services are suspended, no help will be given: resulting in everyman for himself.

The film follows one family during the annual Purge and these guys certainly don't have the safe, quite evening they had in mind. With James DeMonaco directing who bought us the likes of  'The Negotiator' (1998)  and 'Assault on Prescient 13' (2005) the Sandin's family, along with the audience should expect a hostage situation and a bit of negotiating. The main man James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) runs a business who is behind all the fancy security systems the general public put in place to protect themselves during the Purge, only to find out that said system certainly isn't impenetrable, especially when their son Charlie takes pity on an injured man and disarms the security system to let him in (oops). Little did Charlie know that this guy is being hunted down by some absolute maniacs in some disturbing masks who continue to terrorise them until they hand over the chosen target, ultimately condemning this injured man to death to save his family. So while all this is occurring their rebellious daughter Zoe's boyfriend decides to sneak in and thinks this is the opportune moment to speak to her father about excepting him as more than a friend to Zoe - impeccable timing, until he pulls a gun out! Spoilers - spoilers I know, but this is where the writers really show their skills. As soon as you think everyone is save, they throw in something else for this family to deal with thus challenging them to admit defeat and get killed in honour of this culling process or transform into the monsters who are at their doors in order to survive until the next Purge.

So for 12 hours, one night a year, you can virtually do anything, commit any crime and completely and utterly get away with it and the best thing, you have a year to prepare yourself for the people that may come after you for one reason or other - such a brilliant concept. Shame it never really won me over. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed every minute of it but I found myself thinking that there is no way the human race would be able to control themselves for a whole year if someone close to them was affected by the purge the previous year, I'm certain that basic instinct would want to see that person suffer the consequences. It's not in our nature, the whole fight or flight comes into mind and on a night like this all you can really do is fight in hope to survive the night. The corner of the eye camera tricks and eerie soundtrack really compliment each other here, very reminiscent of 'The Strangers' (2008) kind of with a 'Hunger Games' (2012) feel to it with the government having sanctioned such an event to keep statistics down albeit creating a horrific event once a year all in the name of good figures. A reasonably short film of 1hr 25mins, fantastic idea, carefully thought out but it still didn't convince me that something like this would actually work and benefit the country. If you want a raw script, edgy plot  full of twists and a not so cliche ending then this is the one. Still showing in theatres at the moment so go grab a ticket and see what you think.

Directed by James DeMonaco
85mins, 15 (2013)

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