Saturday Movies: The Purge (2013)

When I first saw a trailer for The Purge I thought the concept seemed unique and it seemed horror was continuing to embark on some new things. Watching this movie was a little bit of a disappointment though. With only an hour and a half run time, actually a little less than that, it doesn’t give you the connection or horror at all of what is happening. I felt more horror from the situation happening in The Hunger Games than this.

Summary: Crime has become rampant and the prisons are too crowded to take in more prisoners, so in the future a horrific solution is presented. For a twelve hour period at night those who want to commit any sort of crime are allowed to. All help is shut off and citizens are left to defend themselves against those who choose to take part. A wealthy family is thrown into the chaos after their son takes pity on a man left to the street and allows him in the house. Now James and Mary must find that man and give him over to those who want to murder him in order to save their family.

Acting: I don’t think it’s the actors faults I didn’t feel that tied to the characters. I think it was more so the plot and run time. Ethan Hawke is James, and while Hawke is a good actor he seem to pick more roles than not that just aren’t well developed. There is also something about Hawke that doesn’t fit the father role he’s been cast in. Lena Headey is Mary, the mother, and she’s good in the movie but something does feel generic about her. Max Burkeholder is the son, Charlie, and he is one of the stronger ones in the cast, but I had no idea if he was just going to freak out by the end of the movie or what. Adelaide Kaine just plays a sterotypical annoying teenager, Zoey. Rhys Wakefield was one of the criminals who got more face time in the movie as Polite Leader, actually that is just the name he is credited with. Wakefield has talent, but it’s a poor role that is truly stereotypical.

Filming: The filming appears spooky and well shot at first. The coloring is great and it works for the vibe of the movie, but then the bad guys come in. In order to make the criminals that arrive look spooky we view them through a monitor in the house that is a bit scratchy looking as they do stupid looking antics in the yard. You also have close up shots of their faces leering at the camera to try to get a scare. These shots come off scary at first until they just feel ridiculous. Had this been put together by a more seasoned director I feel it would have been stronger.

Plot: Well reading the plot it seems interesting. There are so many complex issues and thoughts you could ponder over with this. The movie only scrapes on what it could really showcase though. First off, I think just featuring one family was very limiting, especially for people they never choose to develop anyways. To make horror really feel real I think you have to be able to relate somehow to the people experiencing it. Plus, the criminals are what take a lot away from it. They just seem really goofy. They wear stupid looking masks, and run around in the yard looking ridiculous. It relies on such weak techniques to make the movie scary. What isn’t scary is what the people wear or how they skip around the lawn it’s really what the government has came to. I don’t even get a dose of the horror of that though.

The Purge is entertaining, but it’s one of those movies that could have been really horrific. Don’t get me wrong I don’t want more gore or graphic violence. Psychologically there is a lot terrifying about this premise. With a cast that isn’t terribly strong, and random events that happen the movie feels a tad unfocused. Anyways, why the heck are they making a Purge 2?

Rating 5 of 10.

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