We’ve all had moments in our lives when we wanted to punch someone out in the heat of the moment. Anger is a natural part of being human but often we are not allowed to fully express this emotion. If a time came when we were given a chance to release all of our pent-up rage and violent desires, what would the world be like?
The Purge explores a future where violence, murder and mayhem become socially acceptable for a 12 hour period once a year. No police or medical assistance would be in reach. You can kill anyone you want and you won’t get arrested or punished in any way.
James Sandin, a security system salesman prepares for the annual Purge event. He’s happy that his sales are up and like always, he’s confident his family will have a safe and quiet night during lockdown.
James and his wife Mary understand the importance of the purge and what good it has done since it’s been in place but their children Charlie and Zoey are not as thrilled on the idea. Charlie doesn’t like the horrors of people getting killed but it is instilled on him that it is the way things are supposed to be.
The family locks up their home and waits the purge out until a screaming homeless man enters their gated community. His loud pleads and bellows for help go unanswered until Charlie’s bleeding heart decides to offer him sanctuary in the family home.
By the time James or any other family members realize that Charlie is letting a stranger into their home, it’s too late. The homeless man hides out in the house and before the family can grasp what’s going on, they are greeted by sadistic, and blood-thirsty masked psychos.
The leader of the group is a polite gentleman who asks the Sandins to give up his purge target. He demands his entitlement to kill the man or he will break into the Sandins’ home and kill them all.
The Sandins’ face their internal monsters and question where their ethics and values lie when it comes to their lives or a stranger’s life. Is any life better or more deserving than the other?
The concept of this film made me feel uneasy about the possibilities of a killing frenzy unleashed upon the world. It’s such a scary thought to believe that someone who might have it out for you or maybe even a stranger who wants to kill someone just to kill someone could go after you.
It also bothered me that the people who participated in the events felt like purging was a way to “cleanse their soul.” To be given the power to take lives and to embrace it as a spiritual experience made this film even more disturbing.
Writer/director James DeMonaco opens the door to a new thought-provoking fear that has not been explored yet. You could compare The Purge to The Hunger Games but survival is not a test within certain grounds nor does it happen for entertainment purposes. There are no winners at the end. The Purge gives every single person carte blanche on destructive and murderous behavior with unconditional authority.
The Purge delivers on tension and excitement. It takes a typical home invasion story and surrounds it with moral conflict, bloody violence and a lot of social commentary.
The Purge is in theaters today and I highly recommend checking it out and asking yourself, “What if this really happened?”