The Purge (2013) Movie Review
Released : June 7th, 2013
Reviewed : June 5th, 2013
Genre : Thriller / Suspense
Story : A family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.
First and foremost I’d like to give a thanks to Universal Pictures and Screen Rant for the tickets to a pre-screening even for this film.
The Purge was a movie that has intrigued me more and more with every preview I see so when given the chance for a pre-screening I had to go and thankfully it lived up to most of my expectations. The story for The Purge is simple enough, for one night a year all crime is legal. During the rest of the year it is peaceful and all is well. During the process of the annual Purge though the family’s son sees a random man out in the street calling for help and decides to open their security laced home to him. Soon after he disappears only to then have a group of attackers come to the house announcing that they will either have to give over the man who escaped inside their home or face the attackers as they make their way into their home.
Ethan Hawke plays James Sandin the father of the family and also the man whose job it is to make the high end security systems that not only protects all his neighbors but also his own family during The Purge. Lena Headey plays Mary Sandin and Ethan and Lena are two of the standouts of this film that really help carry it throughout. Ethan Hawke really nails the role of the protective dad who in turn will do anything to protect their family. Lena on the other hand does a excellent role going from scared mother to a good heroin towards the end. Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder play Zoey & Carlie Sandin as the children of the film and they do both roles with grace though neither do much to stand out or make a memorable role from the film. Edwin Hodge plays the stranger who is let into the house and again his role though big in the story doesn’t do much to make his role from acting memorable. Rhys Wakefield however who plays the leader of the group of strangers attacking the Sandin’s home however I think did a great job as a psychopath. I have heard some say he made his role a little crazier where it felt a over the top for the setting but I did he did a great job and will end up as the most memorable role of the film.
A misconception I’m hearing from people though is that they are expecting this to be a horror movie of which it isn’t at all. There are jump scares throughout but it takes concepts from films like Panic Room and even The Strangers I’ll say where it turns out being much more of a thriller / suspense film than everything. The majority of the first half of the film is the lead up explaining what small back story about what The Purge is and about the family before setting up the second half where it is suspense going up to the few action scenes. Thankfully however the action scenes are done well and give it the brutal touch it needs going from a brutal premise.
The film doesn’t go without it’s downsides though. Clocking it at around 80 minutes or so the movie is really short. The screening I saw starting around 7:45pm or so and I was out the theater by 8:55pm. We never get too many developed scenes as the film is constantly shifting to give it the next push or twist before it runs out of time. Now that works to help keep the pace up when the suspense kicks in but you also feel like the story itself is not only extremely rushed but also somewhat shallow. Most questions are answered by the end but you feel like almost as quick as the action picks up the movie is over. The ending as well leaves it open for questions as well which may or may not ever be answered.
We end up though getting a fun film to watch. It will keep you entertained and satisfied through and keep you talking about it after seeing it. With a good premise, great acting, and some good twists I can highly recommend this film to everyone.