Does a great premise make this a great film?
In 2022, America’s unemployment rate is at 1% and crime is at an all time low. How you may ask? Because of the annual purge. What is the purge? It is a period of 12 hours that happens once a year, where all crime is legal and no emergency forces of any kind are available to assist. This film focuses on Sandin family as they try to survive the next 12 hours during the annual purge.
Well ladies and gentleman, like most who watched the trailer for The Purge, I thought the film looked pretty spectacular. The film had a great lead actor (Ethan Hawke) and a truly interesting and unique premise. I went into this film hoping for something that would truly be fresh and original and even though, I hate to admit it, I walked out feeling rather disappointed by the film as a whole.
The Purge is one of those films that the premise is much better than the film itself, which I think is a real shame. The main issue with the film is simply the direction in which the film went in. It was much more of a horror film mixed in with thriller elements. A day after seeing the film, I got to sit down and have a delightful conversation with Jason Blum, who produced this film, as well as several other HUGE horror hits including all the Paranormal Activity films, Sinister, and Insidious. He asked me what I thought of the film, and I asked him if I could be fully honest with him. He told me that he wanted me to be 100% honest with him and so I began to explain what I liked and didn’t like about the film. He then explained that the film was originally crafted to be more “political.”
Watch the full interview with Jason Blum below:
My biggest problem with the Purge is the fact that the movie just doesn’t know what it wants to be. It opens with the political stance about America and then slowly becomes a suspense drama, only to change half way through into the typical cliched horror territory. Its interesting because when the film first began, I was really hooked and loved the overall tone and feel of the film especially with the whole setup as to what was going to happen that night. It made you really think and wonder, but at the same time made you sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happened next.
What happens next is really just predictable and mundane, which turns something that could have been truly memorable and unique into something that is so/so and pretty forgettable. I can pin point the exact two spots in the movie where it began to lose me as a die hard fan; the first was when one kid begins looking at the cameras and seeing a guy walking around outside and the other is when Ethan Hawke states he is going to fight back. Those are the moments where the film began to lose me and from that point on, I saw everything coming from a mile away.
Its hard for me to truly review this film because I wanted so badly to like it, but I just can’t say that it was anything more than a slightly better than average horror flick. The performances outside of Ethan Hawke and Rhys Wakefield weren’t anything to write home about and the overall direction that the story went into made it feel lazy and uninspired. I will say that I do still think people should see this film for I think the premise is interesting enough to sell the film, its just a shame that it seems like the film was targeted more towards a mass audience who couldn’t handle a deeper back story. My only hope is that with all the money that this one made, that the sequel will have more of an actual back story of the purge and contain more thriller elements rather and horror. All in all, its not a bad way to spend 90 minutes. I would just try to go into the film without any expectations as a way to enjoy it for what it is, rather than what it could have been.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Purge is a 6.5 out of 10.