Summary: For one day out of the year, the “new founding fathers” started the “purge,” an annual event where citizens commit crimes with no consequences from the law. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a successful business man who built security systems to protect homes for the annual purge. However, he is not as protected as he believes when his family attempts to help a man running for his life.
Review: In theory, The Purge is an excellent concept for a film. In 2022, unemployment is at 1% percent, crime is nonexistent and it’s all due to the success of purging, which allows testy Americans to release their inner killer once a year. Written and directed by James DeMonaco, the movie includes interesting commentary on politics, race and class — only the rich can afford to protect themselves from the annual purge, which lasts twelve hours. A central character is a homeless Black man (we never learn his name) played by Edwin Hodge, who is on the run from “purgers.” Race and class are never explicitly stated in The Purge, but it’s the one angle that prevents the flick from being a total dud: white versus Black, poor versus rich, etc. The moments leading up to the purge are interesting, but when the “beast” is finally released, the movie loses its entertainment value.
The Purge purges every trite home invasion scenario. There is the horny teen, the illogical child who nearly kills off the entire family with dumb decisions, the damsel-in-distress wife and the daddy who might save the day. About half way through, you realize there is nothing special about The Purge. But similar to the interesting beginning, The Purge delivers a satisfactory — but unoriginal— ending.
The flick constantly teeters between good and below average. The scares are so obtrusive and random you become desensitized. That said, audiences will enjoy The Purge more than critics. We’re suckers for screeching villains, big explosions and victims getting their gory revenge.
The Purge is in theaters now.