Every so often there are films that one wonders just how they got made. The Purge is one of those films. Some people must see something and therefore the production begins. Someone must have seen something in this film to bring it to light. James DeMonaco penned the script as well as took on the directing duties. Some of his writing credits include some television as well as the 1996 comedy Jack starring the late Robin Williams, The Negotiator, Assault on Precinct 13, and his latest credits include the two sequels this film spawned – The Purge: Anarchy and the recently released The Purge: Election Year. He also directed the other two films in this series.
DeMonaco’s idea here is in the future someone thought it would be a bright idea to allow a 12-hour period where all violent crime is legal. The result of this “Purge” is low crime, low unemployment, and a civil, peaceful society. This sounds like a great idea on the surface, but somehow it presents a contrived, idiotic thought. This occurs because this Purge happens just once a year. This silly notion that one night of “rioting” will keep people at bay for a year just to do it all over again is simplistic thinking as if the Purge creates some kind of catharsis to last them a whole year. The film is set in 2022, which at the time of its release (2013) was just nine years away. Given the state of this country’s current status with all the shootings and violence, it’s hard to imagine the events of this film occurring. It’s a nice thought, but seemingly far-fetched.
The film stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, who play James and Mary Sandin, a wealthy couple who live in a gated community with a high tech security system in their home. James works for a company that sells these systems and virtually everyone in the local community owns one. James and Mary have two teenage children Charlie (Max Burkholder) and Zoey (Adelaide Kane). In order for the film to progress, DeMonaco’s script enables the neighbors to resent James for his wealthy living from the profits of these security systems and the Purge allows them to take vengeance upon the Sandin family.
The performances were nothing extraordinary. The actors were decent with what they had to work with from the apparently generic horror film type characters DeMonaco created. There didn’t seem to be enough suspense or thrills to keep me in this film and really care for these characters. I suppose there was enough revenue this film collected in order to produce two sequels now in this series (which I probably will review sometime down the line), but for now I’m left with this trite piece of work.