Movie review: The Purge (2013)


The first ‘Home Alone’ film was a superb hit in early 1990s. Still remember that movie telling about a young kid left alone at home and setting up booby traps against two robbers intruding his huge house? Its success had spawned four more sequels. That’s not surprising. But guess what? I only had my first time watching that five films last month, ….maybe because I was too young when it was immensely popular over two decades ago. This had me being interested recently on searching for movies based on home invasion story to watch. And the latest in the category is none other than ‘The Purge’, released last year.

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Well. ‘The Purge’ is more adult-themed and carries more violence. The story sets in the near future (year 2022) when a wealthy family is held hostage for harbouring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized in America. Hence, the family’s security-tighten home is invaded by a group of masked killers, and from there on, we got to see some typical hiding acts, scenes in the dark, some ‘jump’ moments, and killing of course. But no booby traps. I would love to see if there is one or two traps used. A bit old-school but it’s creative. So, no shadow of ‘Home Alone’ here, but there are still slightly older kids in ‘The Purge’ whom manages to help out and also adds in trouble.

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The concept is very interesting but the way it is delivered goes slightly below expectation. A brilliant idea but with its potential not maximised. There is not enough intensity or engaging pressure going on, and the movie is a bit too short. In addition to that, some scenes which are supposed to be heart-stopping got me slightly bored instead. At first, I thought that the ‘Polite Leader’ may be up to something (from his very convincing look and speech in the beginning to the Sandins family), but in the end, his character got killed off easily. Fortunately, there are quite a number of twists to save the movie that got me surprised and had my attention back to the movie.

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The level of violence is not that high here, but there are some ‘jump’ scenes as mentioned earlier. Anyway, I already expected those. And the mask wore by the killers may be disturbing to young children. But not to horrifying level. No worry. For performance, everyone did fairly well, and extra credit to Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey as James and Mary, the parents trying so hard to reach out to their children in that particular dangerous ‘Purge’ time, and also Rhys Wakefield as the ‘Polite Leader’. And I find the youngest son’s character (portrayed by Max Burkholder) here is annoying and doing all the stupid acts (like allowing an unknown stranger to get into the house without asking his parents first). But actually, without his too kind but stupid acts, there wouldn’t be the shown drama following on.

The movie shows the struggle between self-preservation and what’s right. It got me thinking that what should I do if I’m in that situation. Interesting plot accompanied with quite a number of suspenseful scenes and good acting. This movie is not bad. The movie clearly has a lot on its mind, but it never really manages to express it out successfully. It just didn’t pull off enough to where it should be. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Purge’ a total of 7.0.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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    Movie review: The Purge (2013) | My Blog City by Vincent Loy

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