Written and directed by James DeMonaco, The Purge depicts a near future (2022) America where the new founding fathers have implemented a new system in place – an Annual Purge. According to the new social and government sanctioned system, the Annual Purge is the day when everyone is free to commit any crime during a 12-hour lock-down (7 pm to 7am).
In the film, this is the method that many upper class American citizens believe to be the act of abreaction, but in reality the Annual Purge is just a radical and insane way for population control. Poor and homeless people fall prey to this annual event when law and order take back seat with all emergency services, including fire, police, and hospitals being shutdown.
Of course, there are few rules like no government servant holding higher ranks should get any harm in this Purge and also there should not be any use of weapons such as bombs, grenades and missiles. Violation of these two will be regarded as punishable offence. This is the so-called best arrangement for controlling crime, violence and poverty… Strange!
The story focuses on a single family and the night they spend on this Annual Purge. James Sandin, a home security system salesman, lives with his wife Mary, daughter Zoey and son Charlie. Early chat with their neighbour suggests that their success and wealth leave other envy and jealous.
Upon announcement of the Purge, as they lock their home with advance security system wishing to experience a peaceful night, at least no unwarranted thing happening to them, Charlie through CCTV camera spots a wounded man fleeing from a mob and asking for help. He lets the man in; anticipating they all will be safe inside the house.
Knowing the reality, the frantic mob surrounded Sandin’s house and demanded to return the man or face terrible consequences. The Purge is indeed different from average horror or thriller films, but being a futuristic horror thriller with an interesting plot, I don’t think the makers have explored the scenario to the highest level.
Things which I guess go wrong for this film are editing and unnecessary dragging of few scenes that could have given space to the explanation with some kind of social commentary on class conflict, social collapse, moral complication or even the philosophical dilemma and collective psychology to use violence.
The Purge shows how most of us would end up behaving differently under a given circumstances and at the same time underlining another side of human nature that begs for the greater cause of non-violence and humanity.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane, Max Burkholder
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Released year: 2013