The Purge (2013)

dir. James DeMonaco

The Purge managed to achieve almost instant fame when it came out. To its vague credit, it’s a memorable premise. In the America of the future (as far away as 2022, no less), all crime has been eradicated except for one legally mandated night a year, during which violence and murder are permitted without punishment. Of course, the vague credit crumbles when the premise is thought about for more than a split-second. Is all human aggression seriously tempered if we’re promised one night a year to let loose? What about white collar crimes? What about stealing bread to feed your starving family, does that simply not happen anymore because of the Purge? If the relatively stupid starting point is accepted, though, The Purge still doesn’t work. The central family consists of idiots making stupid decision after stupid decision. The band of youths terrorising them are so gleefully performative with their giggles and masks and strutting around that they’re less threatening and more hilarious. One has to wonder why these wannabe criminals spend their entire night waiting around for one family instead of running riot and targeting literally anyone else. By the end of the movie, nothing has changed, no lessons have been learned – ninety minutes have simply been lost. How this total misfire managed to spawn a whole movie series is anyone’s guess, but The Purge is a complete joke of a horror movie.

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