The Purge

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The Purge
The Purge poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
(Hospitality Services version)
Directed by James DeMonaco
Produced by Jason Blum
Sébastien K. Lemercier
Michael Bay
Andrew Form
Bradley Fuller
Written by James DeMonaco
Starring Ethan Hawke
Lena Headey
Adelaide Kane
Max Burkholder
Music by Nathan Whitehead
Cinematography Jacques Jouffret
Edited by Peter Gvozdas
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
Running time
85 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3 million[2][3]
Box office $89.3 million[3]

The Purge is a 2013 American action thriller horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco. It stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder. It is the first installment in DeMonaco's The Purge (film series).

Despite mixed reviews, the film grossed $89,328,627 during its run, far surpassing its $3 million budget. A sequel, titled The Purge: Anarchy, was released worldwide on July 18, 2014.


In the near-future year of 2022 in the United States, all political movements have been shut down by the government, which runs under a strict totalitarian rule from the "New Founding Fathers of America." The NFFA have taken control of the government to recover from a destructive economical collapse that resulted in never-before-seen crime rates and poverty. Due to the actions of the NFFA, the unemployment and crime rate have fallen to only 1% (5% in The Purge: Anarchy), and the economy is at an all time high. After the 28th constitutional amendment was ratified back in 2014 ,the Annual "Purge" Event was created. The Purge is an event that occurs every year from 7:00 PM on March 21st to 7:00 AM on March 22nd,[4] of which during that time, any known crime (i.e. murder, rape, breaking and entering, etc.) is legal, and all services (i.e. police, fire department,emergency medical services hospitals and emergency rooms, etc.) are closed. It is said to act as a catharsis for the citizens; in reality, it is used as a method of artificial population control, as the poorer and homeless people are the main targets.

The Purge has only two rules: First, no government official holding Rank 10 or higher is to be murdered, harmed, have harm caused to them, or in any event brought to harm in any case. Second, weapons above Class 4 are forbidden, meaning that destructive devices (rocket launchers, grenades, bombs or missiles) and explosive materials are excluded from The Purge. Anyone who doesn't follow the rules of the Purge will be harshly punished (usually through execution).

During The Purge, most of the people buy necessary items and barricade themselves in their homes. Large buildings are usually supervised by the landlord, who locks the building and all the exits him or herself. Usually, people remain confined in their homes and sleep or stay at guard during the event. Residential houses and financial districts are usually safe from the people on violent rampages, since banks relocate all their money to other places and houses aren't a threat.


"This is not a test. This is your Emergency Broadcast System announcing the commencement of the Annual Purge sanctioned by the U.S. Government. Weapons of class 4 and lower have been authorized for use during the Purge. All other weapons are restricted. Government officials of ranking 10 have been granted immunity from the Purge and shall not be harmed. Commencing at the siren, any and all crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 continuous hours. Police, fire, and emergency medical services will be unavailable until tomorrow morning at 7 a.m., when The Purge concludes. Blessed be our New Founding Fathers and America, a nation reborn. May God be with you all."

Emergency Broadcast System announcing the commencement of The Purge

Hours before the annual Purge commences, security system salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) returns to his home in an affluent Los Angeles suburb to prepare for holding out the night with his wife Mary (Lena Headey) and their two children, Zoey (Adelaide Kane) and Charlie (Max Burkholder). The family is assured that the security system from James' company, which his house as well as many of the homes in the development are outfitted with, will keep them safe. Zoey sees her boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller), an older boy whom James dislikes. James enables the security system, which includes a remote camera monitoring system and metal plating that seals the home. The Purge begins, and the family disperses in their home to go about their normal routine.

Zoey returns to her room to find Henry had snuck back before the security system was engaged, and he plans to confront James about their love while they are in confined spaces. Meanwhile, Charlie watches the security monitors and sees a wounded man trying to find help. He temporarily disables the system to allow the man, Dwayne (Edwin Hodge), into the house. James races to re-engage the system and holds Dwayne at gunpoint as Henry comes downstairs and pulls a gun on James. Henry's shot misses, but James fires back, fatally wounding Henry, and in the chaos, Dwayne disappears and hides elsewhere in the house. Henry makes his way back to Zoey's room before dying and she takes his gun while James takes Mary and Charlie back to the security control room.

As James scolds Charlie, they witness a group of young adults wielding guns and wearing masks approach the house. Their leader (Rhys Wakefield) unmasks himself and warns them via the cameras that the man they have taken in is homeless and a prime target for the Purge and if they don't return the man within an hour, they will break into the house and kill everyone. As the gang cuts power to the home, James is forced to admit that the security systems are only meant as a deterrent and would not protect against a forceful invasion. He and Mary go off to find Dwayne, intent on turning him in, while Charlie, using a remote-controlled toy, finds him and lures him to a secret space to hide him from his parents.

Zoey finds Charlie's remote control toy and speaks to the camera as she knows Charlie is watching; She says that her boyfriend is dead, she has his gun, for Charlie to stay hidden and she will hide in his secret hiding-place. Dwayne takes her hostage as James and Mary converge on him. The family realizes that they are acting as bad as the Purgers, and they decide not to turn him over.

The Purger gang, their deadline having passed, proceed to use a truck to rip the metal plating from the front door and enter the home. James kills several of them before he himself is killed by the leader. Just as Mary is about to be killed, the family's neighbours, the Ferrins, come to their aid, killing most of the Purger gang. The leader of the conspiracy makes a final attempt at purging by killing the family, but Zoey steps out from a hallway and shoots him repeatedly with Henry's gun, killing him. Although the Sandins are initially relieved that the neighbors had saved them from the Purgers, the neighbours reveal they had come there to kill the Sandins because they are envious of their wealth due to the sales of security systems.

As Mary and the children are tied-up and dragged into the hallway to be executed by the neighbours, Mary pleads for her childrens' lives to no avail as the neighbours discuss how they will take turns stabbing the family. Charlie's remote control-toy goes past and Dwayne emerges and kills one of the neighbours before they can kill the Sandins. Mary says there has been too much killing that night and along with Dwayne, watches the neighbours while they wait out the remainder of the Purge in peace.

Just before the end-of-purge siren sounds, Grace Ferrin (Arija Bareikis) attempts a last-ditch effort at purging by attempting to grab Mary's gun off the table. Mary thwarts this attempt by striking Grace in the face with the butt of her gun and then slamming Grace's head in the table, breaking her nose. As the Purge ends, the neighbours leave for their own homes along with Dwayne. Mary, Zoey, and Charlie watch as emergency services come to retrieve the dead.

The film's credits end on news reports saying that this Purge was the most successful one yet, due to a huge amounts of murder and other crimes, and the stock market is high, due to sales of more security systems and weapons.




  • Edwin Hodge as Dwayne "The Bloody Stranger"
  • Tony Oller as Henry
  • Arija Bareikis as Grace Ferrin
  • Dana Bunch as Mr. Ferrin
  • Chris Mulkey as Mr. Halverson
  • Tisha French as Mrs. Halverson
  • Tom Yi as Mr. Cali
  • Peter Gvozdas as Dr. Peter Buynak (voice)
  • David Basila as George (voice)
  • Karen Strassman as Newscaster (voice)


  • Rhys Wakefield as Polite Leader-1
  • John Weselcouch as Interrupting Purger-2
  • Alicia Vela-Bailey as Female Purger-3
  • Aaron Kuban as Purger-4
  • Boima Blake as Purger-5
  • Nathan Clarkson as Purger-6
  • Chester Lockhart as Purger-7
  • Tyler Osterkamp as Purger-8
  • RJ Wolfe as Purger-9
  • Trazariah Shells as Purger-10


The film premiered at the Stanley Film Festival on May 2, 2013[5] and released in theatres on June 7, 2013 in the United States.[6]

Home media[edit]

The Purge was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 8, 2013.


Critical reception[edit]

The Purge received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes records a rating of 38% based on 135 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.1/10, with the site's consensus stating "Half social allegory, half home-invasion thriller, The Purge attempts to use thriller formula to make an intelligent point—but ultimately only ends up sinking in numbing violence and tired cliches."[7] The film holds a score of 41 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 33 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[8]

On io9, Charlie Jane Anders described it as "a clunky and implausible political screed in movie form."[9] Entertainment Weekly gave The Purge a B−, saying that it "clearly has a lot on its mind, but it never really manages to express it."[10]

Box office[edit]

In its opening weekend, The Purge topped the box office with $16.8 million on opening day and $34.1 million through the entire weekend.[11] The film has collected $64,473,115 domestically and $24,855,512 outside the United States, for a total of $89,328,627 worldwide, with a production budget of $3 million.[3][12]


Main article: The Purge: Anarchy

Due to the success of the first film, a sequel film was developed by Universal and Blumhouse. It was released worldwide on July 18, 2014.[13][14] Edwin Hodge (Dwayne) was the only cast member to reprise a role.

On November 17, 2013 it was revealed that James DeMonaco is interested in directing a third installment in the franchise which would serve as a prequel and explain the origins of the purge. On October 6, 2014 it was confirmed there would be a third Purge film, with DeMonaco returning to write and direct.[15]


The film was the theme for a scare zone in the 2013 edition of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

In July 2014 the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre produced the play, Seinfeld: The Purge, which parodied both Seinfeld and The Purge.[16] The play, which was written by Justin Donaldson, focused on what each Seinfeld character would do during a purge; for example, George tries to kill a former friend from the Seinfeld episode "The Couch".[17] Horror news website Bloody Disgusting gave the play "four skulls" and praised the show for its acting and storyline.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Purge' (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ Kaufman, Amy (2013-06-06). "Box office: Low-budget 'The Purge' expected to beat 'The Internship'". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Purge (2013) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "New Founding Fathers of America - Official Party of the Purge". New Founding Fathers of America. 
  5. ^ Kit, Borys. "Ethan Hawke's The Purge to Open Inaugural Stanley Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Purge (2013) – International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "The Purge (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Bros. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ "The Purge". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  9. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (2013-06-07). "The Purge could be this year's most hamfisted political movie". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  10. ^ Nashawaty, Chris (2013). "The Purge". Entertainment Weekly (1263): 72. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  11. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 7-9, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-06-16. 
  12. ^ "The Purge shocks with $36.4 million opening at box office". Newsday. Associated Press. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Purge has a sequel in development". 10 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Universal Re-Slots The Purge: Anarchy". 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Mike Fleming Jr. "‘The Purge’ Scares Up Third Film With Director James DeMonaco - Deadline". Deadline. 
  16. ^ "Seinfeld: The Purge". UCB Theater. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  17. ^ Cooper, Patrick. "What Would Seinfeld Do During ‘The Purge’?". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Cooper, Patrick. "[Review] Fans of "Seinfeld" Are Going to Flip for ‘Seinfeld: The Purge’". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 

External links[edit]