The Purge Blu-ray Review

Sometimes the idea for a movie is better than the actual movie.  Take for instance, THE PURGE.  The basic idea of living in a world where any type of crime is legal for exactly one night a year is fascinating.  The very notion of living in that world or watching others in that world can put audiences on the edge of their seat because it has so many crazy possibilities.  You could go straight horror, dramatic, political and even comedy if you wanted to get creative.  But with big ideas comes the potential for a big letdown and THE PURGE teeters on the line between squandering a good idea and almost living up to it.

Ethan Hawke in The Purge

We’re following the Sandin family.  They’re a rich, white family that have made their living selling alarm systems to other rich, white families.  They’re the typical American family, complete with a workaholic father, a bored housewife, a bratty teenage daughter and an idealistic teenage son.  On the night of “the purge”, they huddle together in their safely barricaded house and plan on patiently waiting for the night to end.  But things go awry when the teenage son takes pity on a homeless man seeking shelter.  Soon after he lets him in, the “gang” of rich college kids shows up at the house demanding the Sandins turn him over or risk being attacked.

The Purge

A good chunk of the movie is spent on the Sandins trying to find the homeless guy, who is somewhere hiding in their house.  This falls into the “false intensity” complaint many people have with horror movies because we know the kids are coming into the house no matter what.  So spending 20 minutes on the family trying to find him is a waste of time.  There were also some confusing decisions made throughout the film.  Why didn’t the father give the homeless guy a weapon when he decided to fight the kids or at the very least, untie the guy.  He was the best fighter of the bunch, so you’d think you want to get on his good side.  But more frustrating than that were the decisions made by the teenage Sandins.  The girl refused to hide with her parents for seemingly no reason at all and throughout the film, she ran around weeping.  The son wasn’t much better as he never seemed to grasp the magnitude of the situation and constantly thwarted the efforts to keep the family safe.

The Purge

Although most of the focus is on the Sandins unfortunate situation, we do get some peeks to the overall morality of The Purge as characters glance at a TV or have brief discussions about right and wrong.  The third act seems to be a statement on what people do when they don’t have rules, but the grander concepts aren’t fully explored.  They’re there for the audience to talk about later, but the film itself doesn’t scratch the surface on the film’s great concept.  Expanding the scope on a movie like this would be difficult, but I think the filmmakers would have been better off discarding the college kids and homeless guy completely and instead, have the neighborhood turn on the Sandins in the beginning.  This could lead to better dialogue and would have given the filmmakers a chance to make a grander statement about society.  But I guess they need something for the inevitable sequel.

The Purge

The film has problems, but it’s hard not to go back to the very basic idea of all crime being legal for one night a year.  Once they established that world in the very opening moments, I was uneasy.  My heart was racing with all the possibilities and any movie that can achieve that deserves some credit.  THE PURGE isn’t the scariest horror movie or even the most thought provoking, but it does offer some fascinating ideas and at only 86 minutes long, it moves quickly enough to keep the audience entertained.


Video: THE PURGE looks fantastic on Blu-ray.  Darkly lit movies can sometimes struggle if the blacklevels aren’t perfect, but everything looked great in THE PURGE.

Audio: As good as THE PURGE looked, it sounded equally impressive.

Surviving the Night: The Making of The Purge (8:57): This is just a quick, fluff piece about the film.


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