** out of 5
Rated R for strong disturbing violence and some language
Article first published as Movie Review: The Purge on Blogcritics.
In the case of James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), who works for a security company, all he wants to do is enjoy a 12-hour lockdown inside the house he secured for himself. Locked inside with his wife Mary (Lena Headey), and kids Charlie (Max Burkholder) and Zoey (Adelaide Kane), James just wants to get through another purge. Charlie questions his parents don’t participate in the purge, while Zoey’s boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller) manages to sneak inside before the lockdown begins.
Things go from bad to worse for the Sandins when Charlie allows a Bloody Stranger (Edwin Hodge) entrance, and a group of costume-wearing purgers show up to get him. Meanwhile, Henry convinces Zoey that he just wants to talk to James man-to-man, but has a much different agenda, aiming instead to kill his girlfriend’s dad. Because, you know, the fastest way to a young girl’s heart is to put a bullet in her father’s. But James manages to kill Henry first. Our Bloody Stranger lurks inside while the group of maniacs outside led by Polite Stranger (Rhys Wakefield), threatens to take out the whole family if they don’t give him up. Let the game of morals begin!
Hawke plays the father trying to save his family surprisingly well, even if he seems prone to starring in these films that have a great premise but a horrible dénouement — read: Sinister. There were cheers and applause throughout the finale as the audience cheered on the wrong characters. By the time that one hour mark hits, I just wanted all of the characters to die. Now if only there was some way I could purge myself from ever having seen The Purge.
Photos courtesy Universal Pictures