The Purge (2013)

the purge poster 2013 movie
5.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Interesting concept

Poorly executed, generic horror movie

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Purge

Studio:  Platinum Dunes

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 2, 2013 (Stanley Film Festival)/June 7, 2013 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

the purge killers masks door

Knock, knock…we’ve come to purge!

The New Founding Fathers have a new concept to deal with the rising crime and murder rates in the United States.  Purge Night falls each year on March 22, and all crimes are forgiven and even encouraged for twelve hours.  James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is one of those who has profited from the Purge as a seller of security systems, but James is about to learn that there is a price.  A crisis erupts when his son Charlie (Max Burkholder) allows a man (Edwin Hodge) past the security to protect him from people celebrating the Purge, and a stand-off begins.  The Purge lasts twelve hours, but James, his wife Mary (Lena Headey), Charlie, and their daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) will be lucky to survive.

Written and directed by James DeMonaco, The Purge is a horror thriller.  The movie premiered at the Stanley Film Festival in Estes Park on May 2, 2013, and despite poor reviews, went on to be a box-office success becoming one of the most successful low-budget films in decades.

The Purge is one of those movies where you read the description, and it is kind of intriguing…and then you watch The Purge and realize that the film missed the boat on the most interesting aspects of the concept.

the purge stranger edwin hodge adelaide kane

I hate it when my house guests take me hostage…

The Purge should have been more about what the Purge was about.  It is a bit unclear…is it catharsis, a chance to act out killings with no consequences, or a way to stabilize the economy and society?  How far can a person be pushed, and can a good person kill?  The movie almost starts to touch on all these ideas but recoils as if it is afraid to be too serious.  The result is a rather bland survival story that plays out as you expect it to.

I’ve never been an Ethan Hawke fan and Ethan Hawke continues to underwhelm me in this movie.  He’s the most generic of generic actors and has little charm or charisma.  Lena Headey is interesting but her character is underdeveloped and the two kids’ points of view are generally unexplored.  Military homeless man Edwin Hodge and the leader of the Purge crazies Rhys Wakefield are probably the most interesting characters of the movie, but don’t get enough exploration because of how it is scripted.

the purge killer woman

Hi….can I kill you?

The movie also could have been very edgy in appearance.  It was rather low budget and you can tell.  The “big house” doesn’t seem to have any plan to it and it is just halls and occasionally rooms…plus, with such a big expensive mansion, you would think a panic room would be part of most wealthy elitist safety plans regardless of how secure the building is.

The Purge ends up just being set-up for other Purge stories in other Purge films.  If The Purge had failed and The Purge was the only film in the series, it would be easier to see the weaknesses in the movie.  The other films go deeper into exploring the concept of The Purge and that is what this film needed and failed.  The Purge was followed by The Purge:  Anarchy in 2014.

Related Links:

The Purge:  Anarchy (2014)

The Purge:  Election Year (2016)

The First Purge (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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