Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield
Directed by James DeMonaco
Run Time: 85 mins
Opens June 7th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hey Phoenix Film Fans! Opening this week in theaters is “The Purge: starring Ethan Hake, Lena Headey and Edwin Hodge. This film poses an interesting question, what if for 12 hours one a pre-determined date which citizens “purge” themselves to lead a better life for the rest of the 364 days out of the year? How does it play out? Read on to find out.
Security systems expert/ salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is on his way home to prepare for the big night that comes but once a year. It’s not the holiday you may be thinking of that’s filled with presents, merriment or Christmas trees, but a far darker one. Once the New Founding Fathers took over in 20, in an effort to reduce crime and stabilize the economy, the let all crime be legal for 12 hours so the aggressions that people feel towards each other may be “purged” out of their systems. The theory so far has worked. Unemployment is at 1%; crime rates are the lowest ever recorded. People can watch these “purges” on a live video feed from across the U.S. Most targets of the “purge” are the so-called leaches of society, the sick, the homeless, the poor, etc.
James has had a fantastic year. He just found out that he was number one in his division for sales of security systems, which has afforded him more of the good things in life. Yet, on this night of the Purge, his kids are more of a problem than past purge nights. His son Charlie doesn’t understand why people have to die (understandably); his teenage daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane) has been forbidden to see her 18 year old boyfriend who has snuck in to the house before lockdown. His wife Mary (Lena Headey) has an unsettling feeling about the neighbors as they were not invited to the annual Purge Party held by Mrs. Ferrin. Things take a turn for the worse when Charlie sees a man (Edwin Hodge) being chased by a group of Purge participants, seeking refuge opens the security system that has been on lockdown to let him in. The group chasing that man hears from the neighbors that he was let in at the Sandin residence, so unless they give up the man, they will be forced to enter their home and get him themselves, and family to be purged.
What comes off as a sick and twisted plot premise is actually a predictable film that leaves no room for surprise. The amount of plot holes resembles a slice of Swiss cheese as the structure just has no substance. What make this film bearable is the length, it’s short, but what would have been a truly terrifying film (as it sits a little too close to reality) falls apart as soon as the security system door closes. It falls wayward of every other home invasion film but is not even scary as it is ridiculous. You be the judge when “The Purge” opens in theaters starting Friday June 7, 2013.