The Purge

Forgive me for my slackness. My wife doesn’t like horror movies and so I don’t get much chance to watch them anymore. So, my occasional reviews here will no doubt be of movies that other people have reviewed, debated and dissected ad nauseam, and I’m arriving at the party late and pretending that I have something new to say. But sod it, I might stumble across some worthwhile idea.

Clearly modelled on ‘Night of the Living Dead’, this is a brutal home invasion movie. In a dystopian future (although, interestingly, nearly every character we meet sees it as utopian – there’s normally a loud dissenting voice) Americans are allowed to be as violent as they like for one night a year. Rape, murder – nothing is off limits. They need to get it out of their system, as it were.

I chose it because it looked like it might be a fun if brutal satire, but the result felt fairly insubstantial fare even for one as starved of horror moves as me.

A couple of questions popped into my mind:

  • Why are the neighbours so resentful of the man who sold them their state of the art security system? It’s explained away as neighbourly resentment, but it would make more sense if our central family had a distinct superior air when dealing with those around them, instead they seem friendly which makes the desire to kill them seem somewhat strange.
  • How come the dad of a family which locks themselves away each year and never purges on principle, is suddenly so good at it that he’s able to take on people who treat purging so seriously they’ve actually bought masks?
  • Isn’t the daughter’s school uniform the kind of school uniform you only ever see in a Michael Bay movie? Oh, hang on, there he is as a producer

I guess it’s commenting on violence in America and because guns and violence are so endemic civilisation is always teetering on the edge, but it’s so lost in love with its own violence that its point gets rather lost.

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