The Purge

Director: James DeMonaco

Stars: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, and Max Burkholder

Sentence Summary: A family gets attacked and proceeds to exemplify the most ridiculous and terrible behaviour for the given situation.

So recently I was making a list of all of the 2013 movies that I’ve seen. Okay, maybe I need a hobby.

Anyways, doing this brought back vivid memories of some of my favourites of the year, but also of some of the crushing disappointments that this year had to offer. Taking the top spot on my “Crushing Disappointments” list is The Purge.

This was an idea that had so much potential. Anything is legal for 12 hours. ANYTHING. Cool, right?


We are instead faced with a fumbling story of “sadistic” teens, completely unlikeable characters, and a twist at the end that was so obvious, it was almost comical.

These masks were the creepiest thing in the movie

These masks were the creepiest thing in the whole movie

Okay, maybe that sounded a little harsh, but I should explain that for me, one of the most important aspects of a horror film, or any film really, is having good characters. I am not saying that they have to be the epitome of goodness, but they have to give you something to root for. Hawke, Headey, and the rest of the family failed at this so completely that I could not bring myself to care about their fates at all. Needless to say, any of the potential scares sort of lost their edge after I found myself so completely indifferent to them. There was not even an attempt to establish connections to the characters or to make sense out of any of their terrible qualities or decisions. We were just thrown into this weak story with no one to root for, and nothing to care about.

Maybe I was expecting too much from this director who is pretty new to the horror genre, but wow. I could not have set my expectations low enough not to be disappointed by this unemotional, lazy movie. There wasn’t even any good gore.

The only saving grace is that it is only 85 minutes long.

However if character development is not a major factor for you, then you might enjoy this movie; if you do like it, I’m sorry for sounding so negative, this film was just such a letdown for me because the idea had so much potential.

Verdict: Skip it. If you want to watch a creepy home invasion film, check out The Strangers.

Do you feel differently? Let me know! I’d love to hear a different perspective; I’ve heard people say that they really enjoyed this movie, and I would like to hear what it is that some people liked.

Photo courtesy of Google Images

14 thoughts on “The Purge

  1. Good review Jenna. It’s a very interesting premise that’s ripe with promise, but sadly, the movie doesn’t quite deliver on that and just continue to commit the same, frivolous acts of violence, over and over again.

  2. Totally agree with you here. I had high expectations with this one considering how intriguing the premise was. The worst part of the film was not the family or that I disliked them – the family were okay to me; the problem I had was once the main villain took off his mask all of the intrigue was sucked out of the movie. The dude was supposed to come across creepy, but he only came across feminine. He was much creepier with the mask on.

    Like you said, “The Strangers” was better. *Also, this very obscure film “Home Sweet Home” was also much better. It had some questionable aspects for sure, but the villain was ultra creepy. Here’s a review I wrote:

    • Great review, I will check out that one for sure! I honestly love a good home invasion film. And I don’t know, with The Purge I just could not understand what any of the characters were thinking, and that was a deal-breaker for me. But you’re right, the illusion was completely ruined when we found out the bad guys were just some rowdy teenagers. A while ago I saw a movie called The Collector, and it wasn’t anything spectacular, but I thought that it handled the “anonymous villain” character in a really cool way.

      • Yes, I liked “The Collector” and “The Collection” a lot.

        I cannot guarantee you will love “Home Sweet Home” but I do think it’s worth a watch. You may like it a lot, but you may put-off by some of technicalities. I was completely thrown off by the ending. There is a twist I didn’t see coming, but that’s not what threw me. I won’t say much more b/c I don’t want to risk giving it away. “Home Sweet Home” is on netflix instant – or at least it is on the US netflix. Not sure where you’re from.

      • Ok, let me give you one more recommendation. It’s a spanish/thriller called “The Hidden Face”. It has a twist reveal halfway through that will totally throw you and change everything you’ve been watching up to that point, and everything beyond. But DO NOT watch the trailer ahead of time b/c it reveals the twist on the trailer. Just go into the film cold and watch. It’s quite a movie watching experience. It’s available on US netflix instant; hopefully it will be on CAN as well.

      • Yes, most people do watch trailers ahead of time, which most of the time are safe and can offer the viewer an idea what they’re in for and if it’s something that would appeal to them, etc.

        However, “The Hidden Face” is marketed wrong b/c they try to sell the movie by revealing the twist on the trailer, but not realizing if they keep the twist a secret then it packs a much more powerful punch once the twist is revealed.

        Since you don’t know anything about the film, you can check out my spoiler-free entry I wrote about it to provide some details:

  3. Pingback: 5 Disappointing 2013 Movies | See It or Skip It

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