The Movie: 5/10
About 10 years into our future America is a very different place. The new government has declared some kind of control over the citizens that includes one night when all crime is legal, the Purge. It’s been a pretty quick transition apparently because people pretty much embrace the murder and violent free for all. The first thing I’ll say is that this is a forgettable movie. It’s been a week since I saw it and already I’m struggling to recall all of my reactions and enough moments to put it back together in my mind. I’m not saying it’s bad, not at all. It’s very neutral. The idea is intriguing. The vibe is right, kind of creepy, kind of claustrophobic, heavy lesson to learn, you know the type.
What is good about The Purge is the first 20 minutes or so. I was nervous, worried, my stomach was actually on edge. I was thinking of the vulnerability of the family we are following. Even though they are rich and in a very heavily secured house, it was made clear that this was going to be a night when no one is really safe. I had that feeling transferred to real life and wondered what it would be like to be that afraid, which helped make the beginning of the movie more intense. After the purge portion of the night begins I felt I drifted to a lot of other movies that had overly creepy inappropriate bad guys, for example the rich highly educated assholes who want to terrorize and torture a homeless vet. The idea is interesting enough, but they made everyone a caricature of what they could have been. The grit is missing. It all becomes very theatrical as the house is set upon by the horrible people. The visual style of the movie sometimes outshines the content. Shadows and lighting and blowing curtains with figures invading the house, these are supposed to be suspenseful and terrifying, but it all feels very contrived.
Our family is not a group of people I care about, only just a hint at the beginning, but the more the movie goes on I’m not convinced that the father cares enough, that the teenage daughter is worth saving, or that the very clever boy feels vulnerable enough to make me worry about his well being. The mother is the one character I almost can get behind. She shows some signs of being dogged about protecting her kids, but it’s never really all the way. I shouldn’t compare, but Ripley gets more pissed off and protective over Newt, and she barely knew her.
There is a hint of built in fear with this story. I mean, the idea that all crime is OK with everyone in the country for a night means absolutely anything can happen. They do show some video of crimes being perpetrated, and it’s fairly brutal, but that grit is still missing. If this was done in the total jaw clenching style like Seven, or go the other way with that plastic viciousness of To Die For, it would work much better. It sets in the middle so I didn’t fully get into the spirit of it all.
It’s a fine flick to just get into the spirit of things though. Get a few of these, mix in some classics, some crappies, and go for it. It will fit in the middle and make for a good Halloweeny session.
- The Making Of The Purge – An all to short making of featurette. Nothing special and you will be none the wiser when it ends.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
This cover is actually one of those that catches my attention. They are rare, and this one isn’t fully interesting, but graphic enough to not be boring. I don’t think that’s a full compliment, but I might consider having it as a mini poster, so that’s a good thing. The menu is navigation, nothing more.
Audio & Video: 8/10
What is really impressive about this AVC 1080P transfer is the fact the movie mostly takes place in the dark yet you never wonder what the hell is going on. Part of this is down to the masterful lighting the director used but the rest is down to the levels being dialed in just right. No black crush to be found here. Colors are very drab but somehow match the tone of the movie. Detail is fantastic, close up shots at the start of the film look pristine and right out of the top drawer. The Purge might not be the best movie but the presentation really doesn’t suck.
Universal’s DTS-HD Master audio track is as good as you could wish for from a film of this genre. LFE output is high with lots of involving surround ambiance. The difference between quiet and loud on this track is imense, so be prepared for those jump scares. This is an impressive job by Universal shame it’s such an average movie.
Neutral. I’m neutral about this movie, so the value is hard to determine. It’s a fine weekend movie to pop in and get your marathon of dystopian flicks started. The thing is, after a couple others this one might slip through your memory. If you can rent it online, go for it. If you can find it for 10 bucks or maybe 12, it would be a good one to share with some other Thriller loving friends.
Overall Score 6/10