The year is 2022 and the country’s crime rate is at an all time low thanks to an event known as The Purge. From 7pm on March 21st to 7am on March 22nd, all crime is legal. There’s no police, fire departments, or emergency medical services. For a 12-hour stretch you’re on your own and it’s up to you whether you want to lay low and hide or arm up and take advantage of the purpose of the event, to use it as a catharsis.
“The Purge” focuses on the Sandins. They’re your typical well-off family of four living in a beautiful home in a gated community. Assuming their new top of the line security system will keep them safe, come 7pm, they lock up and prepare for a quiet night in. However, when Charlie Sandin (Max Burkholder) opts to do the unthinkable on Purge night, have a heart, he manages to save one man, but put his entire family at risk by doing so.
There’s no denying that the core concept of “The Purge” is an ingenious idea, but it’s also an irrefutably tough sell. There’s absolutely no way the US government would ever sanction such an event, nor would the population ever want it, but it’s still sickly fun to wonder how you might fare during such an event. While that end of the scenario does make “The Purge” a mildly thrilling watch, it’s still nothing more than mindless entertainment because writer-director James DeMonaco misses the mark both on the satirical front and in terms of conveying the true horror of such an event, leaving the film in an awkward and often laughable middle ground.
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