The Purge - DVD Review

'There's essentially no set up here, no world building, no reason to invest or believe in the ideas DeMonaco presents.'

Something of an oddity amongst major contemporary releases, where breaking the two-hour mark increasingly seems like it is a badge of honour, box office success The Purge clocks in at just eighty-five minutes.

This welcome change would be even more welcome if it wasn't the most notable thing about James DeMonaco's film. The Purge might be brave in its slight runtime, well paced and tightly conceived, but that, I'm afraid, is where all of the value here ends.

'The book' on The Purge is that it is a good idea, executed poorly. In a way, that seems true but the execution is so poor, it actually manages to damage the idea. We're in a world where things were so bad before that it became necessary to have an annual 'purge', where people are allowed to spend an evening killing their neighbour. All very well, but where are the signs of that world? There's essentially no set up here, no world building, no reason to invest or believe in the ideas DeMonaco presents.

This, in turn, spreads to the rest of the film. Very quickly, having decided he isn't interested in exploring the central conceit, or the world, DeMonaco decides that he may as well just make a standard home invasion film. Is there any point to placing this in the world of 'the purge', which essentially ends up merely acting as an excuse for another masked band of invaders to pursue the protagonists? Cut out the preamble of the opening fifteen minutes or so and there is nothing whatsoever here to say that this has any more invention than previous average-to-poor home invasion Horror efforts.

Once DeMonaco has decided that this is what he wants his film to be, it's not as though The Purge excels here either. A few tense moments help to keep you invested in the plight of James and Mary Sandin (Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey) but too often, what goes on is poorly executed and very recycled. The traditional spectacularly stupid actions of the characters, who split up and reform more regularly than Boyzone, doesn't help to endear them to you and children Charlie (Max Burkholder) and Zoey (Adelaide Kane) have nothing about them worth remembering.

There is, I'm sure, a good idea here somewhere, but it's gone in a flash, a bit like the rest of The Purge.

By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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