The Purge (2013)

The Purge (2013)
  • Time: 85 min
  • Genre: Horror | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Director: James DeMonaco
  • Cast: Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Max Burkholder


In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can’t be called. Hospitals suspend help. It’s one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.


  • This could have been a good film, because the premise is interesting, but it doesn’t deliver in any department. The dialogue is mostly corny or inane, creating a very amateur vibe. The two lead actors who play the husband and wife are okay, but everyone else may as well be amateurs pretending to be robots. The script consists of 80% tedium, with the other 20% delivering a bit of tension and some weak action sequences. The look of the film is overly dark, which combined with the slow pace and lack of thrills… makes for a tiresome experience.

    I was relieved when the whole thing was over. The music on the end credits was actually a highlight. Don’t waste your time with this extremely lame film.

  • Reminder all emergency services will be suspended for a 12-hour period during the purge.

    What is The Purge? For one night a year (for a 12 hour period) all crime including murder is legal and all emergency services are suspended. In return the rest of the year is crime free. The Purge is used to “cleanse” the soul and release any pent up anger or rage. Sounds like a good concept right?

    James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) sells and sets up security systems and has become the number one sales rep, on the night of the annual purge his son lets in a stranger who is hurt and screaming for help, this act of kindness results in the Sandin family fighting for their lives, as the stranger is actually being hunted down by a group of men and women.

    I found out about this film through my mate who kept talking about it, I thought the concept was brilliant, then I finally checked out the trailer and although it didn’t look as good as I thought it was going to be I still thought I’d give it a go.

    Read full review here –

  • The concept is brilliant, the effect totally failed. I expected much more from this film, but against all odds, it was just a flabby fuss about nothing.You can hardly call it a thriller as I wasn’t biting my nails because of any tense moments. It wasn’t horror either, not even by a long shot. Someone putting on a clown mask doesn’t make it necessarily a horror film. And beats me where the SF part is.

    I can only agree that it’s totally predictable . The moment the neighbours came over to bring the cookies and you saw the jealousy dripping from them, I knew enough.
    I also don’t think the idea of “The Purge” is really feasible. Any decent citizen would take the opportunity with both hands to deal with his annoying neighbor, boss or annoying cackling wife. I would try it anyway. A concept like in “Escape from New York” would work better. All criminals isolated on an island.

    Eventually there wouldn’t be much left of the complete world population if everybody would use that highly sophisticated security system. What kind of system was it anyway ? It only consisted of a few outdoor cameras and some steel plates ! Not so sophisticated to me …

    The overall story is completely incoherent and some facts bothered me immensely.
    1. I suppose a sophisticated security system like this could identify any intruder when activated. In that way the boyfriend would be discovered easily.
    2. I would definitely keep the deactivation code for myself and an option to set a timer so it will automatically be deactivated after 12 hours.
    3. Big annoyance about the performances of the unworldly young son and teenage daughter who suddenly disappears halfway the movie.
    4. The nerd of a father who emerges as a murderous guy.
    The only positive thing here was the appearance of Wakefield. Very convincing as a normal but schizophrenic college student who, along with other school friends, has some fun once a year during the Purge.

    Indeed it could have been better ….

    More reviews here :

  • Nothing has really changed since cops and modern day law was introduced into society. There’s the lower, upper and middle class that strive to make it big in the world and hope to all be successful. Obviously, not everyone does make it and unfortunately with this inequality comes various side effects. Much of these problems include that of a drop in productivity of the economy and increased crime rates. But what if all of that was eliminated with just one half day where all law enforcement stopped and all crime was permitted for a full 12 hours? Welcome to the year 2022, and not a far one at that. Where crime is at an all time low, the economy is booming and the unemployment rate is at 1%. That’s astounding. But so is “The Annual Purge” that was put into place as well.

    For one thing, this particular premise is so deviant that it’s difficult not to think of what one could do on such a holiday (I guess one would consider it). But this also brings up the question, what would be the point of this violent 12-hour explosion if everything were great? Turns out there are still homeless people, but apparently the purge is what is supposed to take care of this issue. With this in mind, the writing by (as director too) James DeMonaco has socio-political subtext in the story that debates on whether the purge truly is a benefit to society, to release built up anger or if its an excuse just to have unmonitored violence. The writing also brings up the idea of morals; whether one should participate or not. All very good, but with this comes lack of depth to the characters at hand.

    Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play a set of parents with two children that end up being caught in a dangerous situation. When a stranger from the outside asks for shelter from an eminent group purge threat, the group in search of the stranger begins making threats to break into the family’s home. As a cast, the actors perform to their best, but the development of their specific roles are either too thin or too cliche. Seriously, some of these characters that take part in the purge are just grudge holders. If you look at them carefully, you could see that they had opportunities to possibly reconcile with their grudgemaker, but no. Instead they wait for the purge, why wait that long? What if they later on were to become something more and made your life better than ever? These are just flimsy motivations to what seems like taking part in a compulsory addiction that eats away at the conscience of the individual if left unchecked. What’s wrong with these people?

    The only characters that truly stood out was Charlie (Max Burkholder) and the Polite Leader (Rhys Wakefield). Burkholder’s role brought up several times the issue of morals because oddly everyone around him has no conscience, not even his family. Wakefield on the other hand brings on the insane by giving a performance that was not only creepy but downright disturbing because of how polite yet unfeeling he is. His best scene is when it comes to him meeting Ethan Hawke at the front door. Sadly even Wakefield is underutilized.

    With also the shorthand of unique characters comes a few other issues. For one, the pacing felt slow. It’s understood that giving the family time to settle the issue creates suspense but with slow pacing, the tension is lost. Then when things get under way, the third act feels like your regular horror film – cheap jump scares and violence that is at best average. Fire axes, knives and guns aren’t all that special. Using household appliances would’ve been more interesting. Cinematography wasn’t anything special either. Score wise, Nathan Whitehead’s music was alright. What’ll really hook people is his light and fluffy intro credit song. Very bizarre because of how it contrasts what is being presented. There were a few other moments of different tunes, but at times he would also create tunes that sounded a bare as Joseph Bishara’s score to that of The Conjuring (2013). Starting out isn’t always the easiest so we’ll see if he grows as a composer.

    Its premise, layered writing and only a couple characters are what make it interesting to see. Sadly, the pacing is slow, the violence is generic and the rest of the cast is flat out boring with cliched development.

    Points Earned –> 5:10

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