The Purge: The Horror Flick that Should Not Have Been

The greatest horror in this otherwise great premise is that they turned it into horror...

Oh boy. Where do I even begin? When I saw the ad for this film a few months ago, I was initially intrigued. A horror film with a unique premise? One that also has an original message about society? I’m sold. However, as the release date got closer and I began to do a little more research into The Purge, that unique premise seemed somehow…off. I tried to keep an open mind as I went to see it in the theater, but I felt like it was getting purged right from the kickoff. So, I went ahead and put out my blue lilacs, ignored my moral compass and prepared to get my murder on. The picture’s entire conceit revolves around a family attempting to survive a “holiday” known as The Purge. It really must be a special time of year, because it’s now seriously acceptable to say the phrase “release the beast” during this momentous season. Taking place in 2022 (shit really falls apart in the next 9 years), the United States has become an almost utopia of sorts. Incredibly low crime rates and a great economy can all be credited to the New Founders of America. Part of the new regime’s wacky plan includes The Purge: a holiday where all crime is permitted for twelve hours. There are some caveats to this vacation from lawfulness. There are certain government officials you cannot kill (Class 10, whatever that means) and certain weapons you cannot use (no nukes?). The film doesn’t really go into any of this though, which is a shame as it would have been more interesting.
 But no. We’re stuck with the Sandin family for the night of the Purge. The household patriarch is a security salesman who has apparently made quite the living from rich people trying to protect themselves during these festive times. He is, in fact, the number one salesman of security systems. Yay? Apparently, his neighbors are a little jealous of the new additions on the family house. They feel that he took their money and rubbed it in their faces. This seems a little petty, considering he’s the man responsible for keeping their posh asses alive, but I digress. The Sandin family locks themselves down for the Purge. Of course, they do not realize that that their teenage daughter’s creepy older boyfriend has crept into the house before lockdown. He explains to Zoey that he wants to have a nice man-to-man talk with her father to convince him that their drastic age difference is A-ok. While all of this is going on, the Sandins’ youngest child, Charlie, sees an injured man running down the street screaming for help. Thus, he decides to take the house off lockdown to let the bleeding stranger in. Why? Because Charlie is a stupid and reckless asshole. Throughout the film, you’ll find yourself praying that they just toss him out as a sacrifice. In fact, I think if the film audience had a right to purge anyone in the film, we’d have all have ganged up on Charlie. Anyway, while Mr. Sandin is attempting to deal with their new guest, Zoey’s boyfriend shows up for that little chat. And by little chat we mean the guy opens fire. Because if there is any certain way of winning a woman’s heart, it is by killing her innocent father. Sounds like some Game of Thrones logic. Fortunately, the dumbass cannot hit the broadside of a hawk and with massive gunfire everywhere, he ends up shot and bleeds to death in her room. Oh, and now their new stranger friend is somewhere in the house. Turns out, the family’s new best friend wasn’t just taking a bloody jaunt during the Purge. He was running from a group of rich prep school assholes who are intent on killing this very specific homeless man. But let’s focus for a second on their outfits. Why is it that all the young men are in prep school uniforms while the women are wearing dresses that resemble something out of The Wicker Man? I guess this is to add an eerie effect, but these are rich kids, not occultists from a Rob Zombie movie. Anyway, they decide to give the family an ultimatum. Give up the man or they’re going to come in and kill everyone. Very odd for a group of people that seem intent on murdering one specific man. Needless to say the kids get in, it turns into Battle Royale and Papa Sandin dies at the hands of jealous neighbors because…this movie has a message.