A Mediocre Home Invasion Film
Despite an intriguing idea, The Purge fails to really ignite the horror genre with this mediocre effort at a home invasion film. With plenty of jump scares, blood and violence, The Purge is an intentionally bad film, relying heavily on tired cliches in the genre rather than building on the idealistic future America the film presents to us early on. With throwaway characters lacking charisma or likeability at its helm, helped in part by incredible lack of logic, The Purge is more frustrating than it should be and another miss from Blumhouse Productions.
The Purge’s premise gravitates around one of those questions you ask with a group of friends over a cold pint – If all crime was legal for 24 hours, what would you do? Well, think no more. Blumhouse’s home invasion thriller The Purge imagines an idealistic Utopian America where unemployment has dropped to 1% and crime rates are as low as they’ve ever been. The catch? For one night of the year between the times of 7pm-7am all crime is legal, including murder. At the heart of this chaotic descent into violence are the Sandins, a wealthy family that lock up shop for the night and hope to wait out the violence. Unfortunately, things don’t go to plan and thanks to a mix of bad luck and incredible idiocy find themselves at the heart of the night’s purge.
While the idea itself is an intriguing one, it’s difficult to take seriously with so many flawed plot holes in the story. There’s a fair few quiet, reflective moments during the film’s 90 minute run time, during which time you may find yourself wondering why the family didn’t just go on holiday for the week. On top of this, there are a lot of flaws with the purge concept itself and unfortunately the film is in such a hurry to devolve into a splatterhouse of violence and gore, it never takes the time to really sell to the concept to us. To divulge too much about the plot would be to spoil some of the twists and turns late on but suffice to say, the body count does increase pretty dramatically late on. Expect a whole manner of gory deaths here, most of which involving a bullet to the brain.
While there aren’t any scares in The Purge per-se, there are some pretty decent visuals and a couple of well-timed jump scares to help sell the concept. The maniacal, grinning masks are certainly iconic though and if there’s one takeaway with the film it’s this. Beyond that though, it’s difficult to recommend The Purge to anyone but the real die-hard horror fans. At its core, The Purge is simply a home invasion film with a couple of twists thrown in but the lack of likeable characters and a whole host of illogical decisions by the characters make it a tough sell to recommend as a credible horror film.