The Purge (R) from Universal Pictures and Jason Blum feeds your inner animal urge. Watching it, you get that visceral rush that lovers of the thriller and horror genres need to feel to jump start their hearts and unfreeze the blood in their veins.
It was made, as I mentioned in a previous article, for just $3 million, but it delivers thrills and chills that many movies with larger budgets don’t manage to deliver.
The Purge is set in America in 2022, an America that has seen some sort of unspecified times of turmoil that has changed the country’s legal system immensely.
America’s “New Founders of America” (NFA) are mentioned by various characters, generally speaking, in a proud way. The people in The Purge look at these unspecified New Founders reverently, because they have carried the country intact through difficult times and circumstances.
There is even a cool website that has been created giving further information about this political group.
One night a year, for a 12-hour period lasting from 7:00 p.m. March 21 to 7:00 a.m. March 22, is set aside for American citizens to release their inner animalistic natures and feed their urges that are contained the rest of the year. They can break any laws without repercussion, and even commit murder during these 12 hours.
The movie focuses on the wealthy Sandin family and one night when they became the targets of a Purge Night.
Masked neighbors, who were hunting down a homeless man (Edwin Hodge), turn their rage upon the Sandins when their son, Charlie (Max Buckholder), disarms their house’s security system temporarily to allow the desperate man to enter their home.
The masked and well-armed neighbors hear that the Sandins have offered the man asylum, and they demand to have the man handed over to them. If they don’t turn him over, a smiling man (Rhys Wakefield) outside their door tells them that their house will be destroyed and they will join the man in death when the entire family is slaughtered.
You get the idea that the widely grinning neighbor would relish killing everyone in the house. He orders the power to be cut off, plunging the house into darkness.
The bloodied stranger the family has offered sanctuary has disappeared somewhere in their massive house, and they need to locate him and hand him over soon.
If they can’t find him and turn him over before the neighbor who came to their door is able to gather together the necessary equipment he and the marauding group with him needs, they will bring the walls of the house crashing down and go on a killing spree.
Ethan Hawke does a great and convincing job playing the father, James Sandin, who has gotten very wealthy selling his neighbors security systems.
Mary Sandin, the mother, is played by Lena Headey, of Games of Thrones. She doesn’t seem to like the whole idea of Purge Night, but she goes along with the concept when her husband explains it to their teenage children right before the house gets locked down one October 21.
Their daughter, Zoey (Adelaide Kane), has a boyfriend who, unbeknownst to her, has hidden in their house, too. The boyfriend, Henry (Tony Oller), says he wants to talk to her father, and convince him that he is good boyfriend material.
He really is there for another reason, entirely — to kill Zooey’s dad.
The movie raises the questions, “What would YOU do to protect your family?” and “Are we all filled with murderous urges we just barely keep in check?”
The polite, smiling man who has come to the Sandins’ door reminded me of Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises. He behaves as if it’s his right, as well as the right of the group who is with him, to kill the homeless man.
After all, the past Purge Nights have helped cleanse America of poverty and eliminate our homeless problem, which, in turn, also aided in stimulating the country’s economy.
It’s not as if James Sandin doesn’t want to hand over the bloodied stranger who has entered his house without his permission and knowledge; it’s just that he can’t find the guy, and he’s racing against the clock in this tension-filled thriller.
The Purge was made by the producers of Paranormal Activity and Sinister. They definitely know how to make a decent thriller/horror flick on a low budget, and whoever did the casting did a nice job getting the actors that they did for this movie.
Despite it having so far what could be termed “mixed reviews,” I found myself engrossed in watching The Purge and I was caught up in the tension and suspense of the plot and the Sandin family’s race against time.
I won’t give away any further spoilers. Instead, I’ll leave it to you to view The Purge for yourselves, so that you can feed your own inner animal urges.
Written by: Douglas Cobb