Set in the year 2022, the United States has practically no crime and unemployment is at 1%. Created by the New Founding Fathers of America, the annual Purge helped save America. One night a year from 7pm to 7am all crime, including murder, is legal. There are strict rules regarding the type of weapons, as well as certain level officials are exempt from the purge. Many people seek shelter and try to wait out the night, but for many it is their one night a year to seek revenge. Those who purge are said to be cleansing their soul of all the anger and hate they have held in all year. They thank their victims for allowing them to kill and to cleanse.
The Purge stars Ethan Hawke as a security system salesman. His sales have sky rocketed and his family is able to afford the best of the best. His wife, daughter and son gather for dinner before locking down for the night. When a stranger seeks refuge and their son disarms the system to let him in, a group of young radicals come for the man. Either the family gives him up, or they will break through their barriers and come for the family as well.
The film creates the concept of the purge in such a way that it seems possible and makes you wonder how you would deal with such a situation. Would you purge, or stay in lockdown? What would you do if someone came for you and how far are you willing to go to protect yourself and the ones you love.
I watched the second film, The Purge: Anarchy, first. The Purge takes place in a quiet rich neighbourhood and entirely within the house. The Purge: Anarchy is more action packed taking place through the streets and buildings with more intense situations. Things have progressed more in the second film with different movements but I felt it did a better job of explaining things regarding the purge itself.
The Purge fell flat in a bunch of ways, which mostly dealt with the characters of the main family. They were very naive and innocent, which is understandable considering the circumstances, but they also did so many things you couldn’t help but yell at the tv and how stupid they were. The “villains” or the main group of attackers were also done poorly. They focused too much on trying to make the attackers creepy or strange. The fact the strangers are trying to break in and kill you seems like a good enough foundation to me. The main attacker in the film is a slicked spoiled college kid who somehow became the leader of a group of banshees. The men of the group took the silent floating approach behind their masks while blasting their guns. The woman, however, were all put in innocence white dresses and strange masks. They all chose axes, swords or knifes over any guns, and screamed and laughed like banshees. At one point, one girl even tickles her victim while laughing before attempting to kill them. These things really distract from the film and take away from how good it could have been.
If you plan on watching these films, I would suggest to give the second film a chance before deciding whether or not to write these films off.