Movie Review: The Purge (2013)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2013 thriller starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey.

Synopsis: As the annual night of punishment-free crime and violence known as "the Purge" begins, James Sandin and his family feel safe inside their home, protected both by a gated community and a state-of-the-art security system. However, things quickly go south when his son offers a homeless man sanctuary and their home, which isn't as secure as they thought, is targeted as a result.

Who's In It?

Review

My wife and I watched the sequel to this movie a short while ago and we liked it enough to want to see the original. I finally ended up getting the first movie through Netflix and we wound up watching it last night. Unfortunately, while it was good, I actually think we liked the sequel better.

The premise of the movie is a pretty simple one, something I do like when it comes to this genre because it allows the action to start right away. In particular, I liked how the movie started out about a well-protected family that profits from the Purge and ends up being a survival movie at a surprisingly fast pace (I was expecting their security system to hold out longer than it did).

Also, while the crowd outside their door was their primary threat, I also couldn't help but wonder about the bloody stranger (Hodge) they let inside. He was quick to find a hiding spot and it wasn't clear whether he was simply scared or if he was going to be a problem at a later time.

My only real complaint about this movie is it only shows an isolated part of the violence and, because of that, we never really get an idea of just how awful the crime is. Ironically, I had the same complaint about the sequel and, as it turns out, that movie actually did a much better job of showing the overall violence.

The other part of that is, with everything being so isolated and taking place exclusively inside their house, it film does ultimately get to be a little predictable. When their neighbors show up to help, for example, I kind of figured there was an alternate reason for doing so and my wife correctly guessed how the stranger would ultimately play a role in all of it. As a result, while the movie still proved to be a decent thriller, I think it would have been better to see them at least attempt to leave the house so a few more twists could be thrown in.

Final Opinion

It's a decent thriller and I did enjoy watching it. But, as I said, I think the sequel to this movie is slightly better.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 12/29/2016, StevenHelmer
 
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