Director: James DeMonaco
Runtime: 85 minutes
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Heady, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield, Tony Oller, Arija Bareikis, Tom Yi, Chris Mulkey, Tisha French, Dana Bunch, Peter Gvozdas, John Weselcouch, Alicia Vela-Bailey
Description: In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
Review: Laws form the base of our society, but what if they temporarily don’t apply? That cops, ambulances and fireman don’t respond to emergencies. This is what’s going on “The Purge”, starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady. James DeMonaco, who mostly does work as a script writer, directs it.
In the near future, 2022 to be exact, there is hardly any violence, criminal activity and unemployment in the US. This is because of the Purge, an annual happening where for twelve hours there are no rules. Any kind of violence, including murder, is allowed. We follow James (Ethan Hawke) and his family on the day of the Purge. James earns his money by selling security systems and his own house is well secured too. James and his wife Mary (Lena Heady) don’t participate in the Purge and they lock themselves in the house with their kids Zoey and Charlie. But when Charlie opens the doors for a man in need, nobody is safe anymore. Especially when that strange man is hunted by a group of murderous teens.
It’s good to see that, besides all the horror remakes and unnecessary sequels, there are also original ideas coming from Hollywood. The starting-point of “The Purge” is perfect for an intense thriller. Sadly the film relies a bit too much on genre clichés after the first strong half hour. The jump scares aren’t really jump scares and there aren’t any surprise elements.
Ethan Hawke and Lena Heady both deliver a strong performance. Their movie children don’t, they don’t go above the average soap actor level and both their characters aren’t likeable whatsoever. Especially because they caused all this mayhem. But on the other hand, if it weren’t for those dumb kid, we wouldn’t have a story at all, so I guess this movie needed the stupid kids.
It wouldn’t have hurt to give the main characters some backstory. And the reason for introducing the Purge would be welcome as well. It’s all very flat. This movie doesn’t expect much from the audience, you don’t need to use your brain for this.
The villains or enemies don’t convince and are anything but credible. But not all is bad. The story is interesting and it’s kind of fun to see the intruders get slashed.
In the end “The Purge” is dealing with a mediocre execution of an intriguing idea and this movie will be more of a guilty pleasure. It’s original, but not surprising.
Rating: 2,5/ 5