Horror Movie Review: The Purge (2013)


One night a year all crime is legal, for 12 hours America is awash with blood as every day normal citizens enjoy ‘the purge’. No help from the police & no going to hospital…could you survive?

The purge is responsible for a record low crime rate & un-employment in America. The idea being that giving citizens 1 night to get all their rage, hated & ill-feelings out means they don’t feel the need for the rest of the year. The rich can afford to protect themselves while the poor become victims.

Tonight is purge night & the Sandin’s are preparing for a quiet night at home locked safely behind their state of the art security system. As the night gets underway a stranger starts a chain of events that puts the family safety at risk & will force them to make choices they never thought they would have too.

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So that’s the plot of the movie….I liked it enough to take the trip to the cinema to see it with my wife.

The early stages of the movie set up the tense nature of the upcoming purge nicely, we see the father James Sandin returning home to his rich neighbourhood as the clock counts down. He is the creator of the No.1 selling security defence system in the country & most of the neighbourhood uses it including the Sandin’s themselves.

The family consists of the father, mother, young boy unsure of what good the purge does & the teenage daughter at odds with her parents over her boyfriend. An attempt to add some flesh to the family issues at the dinner table falls a little flat. The pretence that the father & daughter are at odds over an unwanted boyfriend doesn’t actually materialize & opens up one of the biggest plot holes in the movie, something that I found unforgivable.

The build up to the purge & the eventual start are exciting affairs & you’re just waiting for something to happen….and happen it does. The boy seeing a man in need outside decides to open the system & let him in. This man is homeless & was being hunted by a large group of rich kids who, when finding out where he ran too, decide to lay siege to the family home.

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These guys are a dangerous group of purge believers, they want to enjoy themselves & the Sandin’s have spoiled their fun. The time where they wait outside in their masks is extremely effective & the leader of group, Henry is the best thing in the movie.

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Character development is seriously lacking throughout the movie, the stranger that the child saves could have done with anything resembling a back story.

Sadly the last 20 to 30 minutes of the film really fall apart. Once the house is breached (which happens way too easily) the film stops being scary & just rushes through to a poor payoff. I found the ending really frustrating…

Jumps scares are fine if they happen once in a movie but when they are occurring as often as they do in the purge it’s really annoying. Most of them are really predictable as well. Take this scene…the boy is hiding behind a cupboard using a torch for light. He takes a look around the room & sees nothing but a door slightly creaking open. He hides the light & ducks back behind the cupboards. He waits all of 5 seconds before looking out again & shining the torch into one the masks. Cue folks jumping & me sighing loudly…

Untimely I guess the director wants us to question what we would do if the purge existed. Would we go out & kill or hide away hoping to get through the night?

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The problem is I found myself questioning the idea of the purge itself instead. The idea that someone could go out & kill all night long & then the next day just go on like everything was fine for another year is absurd.

I came away frustrated at the wasted potential , the movie is far too short & fails to show any real impact that the purge has on America. At times it almost takes on a religious feel & the many plot holes feel lazy.

A frustrating watch in the end that has great potential. By no means a bad movie at all & credit has to be given for the originality of it.

The Purge
  • 6/10
    The Final Score - 6/10
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