Newly released Universal film ‘The Purge’ crept into UK cinemas on the 31st May 2013, after dark trailers plunged the marketing hook into us, filling us with excitement.

‘Unemployment is at 1%; Crime is at an all-time low. Because one night a year, all crime is legal.’

The United States in the year 2022 boasts a thriving economy and mass civil peace, because one night a year, all crime is legal- including murder and no emergency services are available until the Purge is over the following day. A utopian/dystopian model is adopted in its entirety for the storyline of The Purge.

A wealthy family who have made their keep by selling security systems to rich neighbours decide to keep their home on lock-down, sitting the night through. However, the young son of the family seems a concerning character from the start, and his actions result in an invasion of their home by figures sporting disturbing marks similar to that of the V for Vendetta film and the recognisable symbol for hacktivist group, Anonymous.

Despite the intriguing concept of the film, The Purge sadly does not live up to expectations. When expecting an hour and a half full of pure exhilaration and bloodshed, it is often a shame when you are greeted by a wave of social allegory. While underlying social meanings are important, and it is ‘nice’ that the mother in the film decides not to take revenge when she has a very good opportunity; it sadly does not blow you away alike the whirlwind of a full frontier horror- think the Hostel trilogy or the infamous Saw movies. However, there are parts which will delight those with a taste for gore; a scene involving the father of the family in a room with a snooker table is sure to please, with the use of guns and axes creating a wickedly sinister fight scene.


A final disappointment of the film was the predictability. At a number of times it was easy to foresee who was going to shoot whom and where somebody would be hiding. Many of the audience members in the screening were heard to be whispering ‘I knew that was going to happen’ or ‘I told you’- which sadly lost much of the needed anticipation to make The Purge a worthy watch. If the film had been created with the intention of making the audience scream and jump more frequently rather than moral messages of human behaviour, it would have been a great new take on the modern horror film.

The Purge surprised critics as it raked in $34 million on the opening weekend with the budget for the film set at $3 million. On the 11th of June, Universal released news that a sequel to the film is already in development but no word on if Ethan Hawke or Game of Thrones actress Lena Headley will return, nor if James DeMonaco, the writer/director will turn his hand to the creation of ‘The Purge 2’.

2 Stars ★★✰✰✰