In my anticipatory comments about The Purge, I guardedly noted that it…
“…could make for a really interesting genre film in any number of ways, it could also make for an appalling straight to video (or I should say straight to DVD/Blu-Ray/Netflix etc) attrocity with few redeeming features.
I’m hoping for the former, but probably expecting the latter, its a similar feeling to when you hear there is a new Morrissey album coming out.”
The Purge is rather frustrating as it opens in an intriguing, satirical manner (even if the satire is of the sledgehammer variety) with the eerie preparation for the annual evening of legalised slaughter that a near future US has imposed after some sort of scary political meltdown. The notional rationale (which is never really developed upon) is that it acts as some sort of release valve for the more psychotic side of the population, keeping crime down for the rest of the year. The underlying implication being that it is an excuse for the rich people to murder everyone who isn’t rich.
Via a series of irrational decisions by his creepy kids, the wealthy security system sales douchebag protagonist played by Ethan Hawke ends up on the wrong end of the Purge-ing nutters. I thought this would lead to some sort of western outpost/Straw Dogs siege battle, but it actually lead to about forty minutes of this on a loop:
1. Scared character enters room, inexpertly grasping a weapon
2. We all wait for a mask wearing psycho to scarily jump out at them
3. An indeterminate period of tension building occurs
4. The mask-wearing psycho shockingly attacks, we all jump a bit
5. Someone gets killed
The Purge clocks in at just 85 minutes, but trust me it seems longer – A missed opportunity.
CURRENT ANTICIPATION-OMETER STATUS AFTER 3 of 10 FILMS: DISAPPOINTED