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Mike Fraser — Owner and Reviewer For: www.mikeshouseofmovies.com
Unemployment is at a 1% low, crime is non-existent. Life is good, well at least that is what we think. The United States of America has given the people the right to commit crimes no matter how heinous for 12 hours one day a year. This is known as The Purge.
This is allowed so people who have hatred, or anger towards people can lash out and take out their frustrations any way they see fit. Though weapons above a Class 4 ratings are not allowed and high ranking officials have immunity and can not be touched. Everyone else is fair game.
This story is about one family’s ordeal through this torrid 12 hours and pushes them to their limits of morality and puts them in the situation we have seen before, the situation of how far would one go for their family.
Director James DeMonaco puts us into a night filled will extreme tension and brutal violence. This is an idea that may seem good to some but definitely shouldn’t see the light of day. His movie is lean, clocking in under an hour and 30 minutes and James DeMonaco uses every minute of it to weave a tale of brutality and makes you question yourself, ‘what would I do in this type of situation’.
The situation the family gets in starts when the son lets in a man searching for help during The Purge. No one knows who he is or what he is doing in their neighborhood. This brings on the group that are out to purge this man and go about their lives and pits the family in the struggle of do they keep the guy safe or let him loose to the purgers. DeMonaco takes time getting here and really slowly lets the tension build. This works very nicely because throughout the movie you can feel it building, like a pop that is slowly coming to boil. When it hits it’s breaking point bad things happen.
DeMonaco doesn’t shy away from the violence either, especially in the opening title sequence that is littered with security cam footage from the years before purging. The opening is brutal and very unsettling which sets the tone for the movie quickly.
The only really light hearted feel you get is after the credit sequence as the day is getting setup. When it’s time for The Purge to start, the tone shifts into darkness. The movie has many dark points and for the most part DeMonaco does a great job with pulling no punches, until the very end.
This is where the movie fell flat for me. Everything was hitting the right notes and the viciousness of the evening is felt throughout the film until the ending scene. I felt that DeMonaco pushed you to the mouth of madness and right at the last minute before falling in he pulls you back. It wouldn’t have been the ending I would have chosen, though getting there, there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I was pleasantly surprised when those twists came and thought the ending was going to go full tilt.
The acting throughout the movie was great. Ethan Hawke as the father James Sandin, plays the part well and you feel that what he is doing is the right thing for his family. Hawke usually always does a good job and this movie is no exception.
The mother Mary Sandin, played by the wonderful Lena Headey, is portrayed nicely on screen and Headey gives a good performance as mother who is conflicted about the whole purge night, and this comes across wonderfully in later scenes. A very strong performance from a strong actress.
Max Burkholder and Adelaide Kane play the children Charlie and Zoey. Beautiful performances from both, especially from Adelaide who has the most emotional part between them. The director did a good job getting strong performances from the younger performers.
Rhys Wakefield takes on the role of the Polite Stranger who comes knocking on the door to claim the injured man the family has hiding in their home. He is down right creepy in this role and really rises to the occasion as the main villain in the movie. Though at moments he felt a little over the top, overall he played the part well. The rest of the crew that made up his gang were equally as scary and creepy and added to the overall rising tension as the movie went on.
Edwin Hodge who has a wonderful TV career was cast in the role of the strange, the man who was injured and looking for a place to hide out the night. He’s not in a lot of the scenes but the ones he was in were well done.
Is this a movie for you to see? If you like dark, heavy, brutally violent movies then you should enjoy this movie. If you are very squeamish then it might not be your cup of tea. Overall it is a good movie and I can recommend it, with the caveat being the ending though you may even end up liking the ending.
Overall I give this movie 3.75 out of 5. It would have scored higher from me but the ending kind of ruined it a little for me. It is a good movie and gives good scares and it is a pretty intense night out to the movies. ‘Till next time my friends.