If you were able to go out one night a year and commit any kind of crime you wanted with no consequence, would you? In a bid to try and prevent crime, the government in 2022 America have granted everyone 12 hours a year in which they can do whatever they want with no consequences, this night is called The Purge.
The Purge is like any other home invasion horror film but with a political swing that makes deliberating over whether or not it’s realistic quite difficult. Weirdly it’s actually easier to believe that people would just go out randomly and break the law than it is to believe that the government would sanction such a thing, so in many ways The Purge is very far fetched.
A well to do family with a fancy new security system find themselves held hostage in their home when they take in a man who is the target of a murderous syndicate during the purge. With any and all crime legalised for those 12 hours, the syndicate manage to break in when their target isn’t returned to them in the given time limit. The family, who hadn’t wanted anything to do with the purge, must fight back to save their lives.
The idea behind the film is ridiculous, but the kind of ridiculous that has you wondering whether something like it could actually happen. It is set in America after all! The unlikeliness of the plot unfortunately does render the film difficult to relate to and the standard home invasion plot is much more believable. That being said The Purge does have an interesting swing on the genre and it has to be applauded for its originality, which is sorely lacking in a lot of horror films lately. It’s difficult for any normal member of society to really buy into the idea that normal, everyday people would partake in something so violent, regardless of whether it was legalised or not. It’s difficult to believe that people would take the government up on their offer and head out to kill the people they hate the most.
Ignoring the far fetched plot The Purge is a reasonable thriller. While it lacks in suspense and atmosphere it does present an original premise and a nicely shot film which makes it a relatively entertaining watch. It’s one of those films that can’t really be defined as a single genre but it’s more thriller than horror, despite containing scenes (and masks) stolen straight from The Strangers. The music’s good, the acting’s ok and the editing and cinematography are very well done. It’s a mediocre film and nothing more, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.
The Purge has a unique premise, albeit a far fetched one, that provides a release from the usual and oh-so-predictable home invasion sub genre. It had a lot of potential but didn’t quite meet expectations and ends up being a very forgettable film. Neither bad nor particularly good, The Purge is one of those films that’s worth a watch if you get the chance, but not worth going out of your way to see.