The year is 2022. Crime and unemployment in the United States are at an all time low after the nation became "reborn" under the New Founding Fathers. This is due to the introduction of "The Purge", an annual 12 hour period in which all crime is legal and emergency services are suspended. Citizens are encouraged to act on all their negative thoughts and feelings, and hopefully eliminate some homeless riff raff in the process.
James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a man who has made a lot of money selling home security systems to those who would rather stay inside at this special time of year and not be murdered in cold blood. The movie focuses on James and his family, all locked up inside their massive house as The Purge begins. But when a stranger comes calling, their safety is compromised, and the family must make some difficult decisions, and fight for their survival.
Does that sound like a silly premise? Well, that's because it is. The Purge just seems to exist as an excuse to show mindless violence, and while there are countless points in the movie where people on the radio or TV state that America is a prosperous country because everyone's allowed to murder people once a year, no one seems to explain why. There's some kind of class issue in the undertones that is quite interesting, but it's never fully explained or developed, because the whole movie takes place in one rich guy's house.
So the premise may be poorly executed and a little silly, but hey, we're here for the violence, right? Well, there's not a massive amount of that either. In the first half is just a waiting game, that does get a tad more suspenseful once the gang led by "Polite Leader" (Rhys Wakefield) turns up on the doorstep. Wakefield puts in quite a menacing performance, which is probably the best of the film. Unfortunately that isn't saying much. After a quite frankly boring first act, the action commences, but there isn't too much of it, and we're mostly treated to jump scares and cliche fight sequences. There's a twist thrown in at the end, but it's not really well developed or executed.
There's really not much I can say about The Purge. From the moment I heard the premise I was expecting to be unimpressed, and what I got was a boring plod through an underdeveloped plot, with crappy acting. If you want your fix of home invasion horror, go and watch Funny Games. Even if you've seen it already. Just stay away from this.
My rating: 1/5