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 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 2022, the "New Founding Fathers of America", which took over following an economic collapse and instituted totalitarian rule, has established one night a year -called "the Purge" - in which all crime is legal and all police, fire and medical emergency services are shut down. The official reasoning is that the Purge acts as a catharsis for the citizens, ensuring low rates of crime and violence for the remainder of the year. In reality, it is used as a method of artificial population control, as the poorer people are usually the main targets.

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 manufactured by James's company will keep them safe. James is a top salesman of elaborate protective systems designed to provide home security each Purge night, and their neighbors attribute the size and fittings of the newly extended Sandins' house to his success in local promotion.

While the family awaits the 7pm sirens which will announce the start of the 2022 Purge, Zoey sees her older boyfriend Henry (Tony Oller), 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 has sneaked back before the security system was engaged, and he plans to confront James about their relationship. Meanwhile, Charlie watches the security monitors and sees a wounded man calling for 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 fires at James and misses, but James fires back, mortally wounding Henry. During the chaos, Dwayne disappears and hides. 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 well educated young adults, wielding guns and wearing masks approach the house. Their polished and polite leader (Rhys Wakefield) unmasks himself and warns them that if they don't surrender Dwayne within an hour, they will break into the house and kill everyone. As the gang cuts the house's power, 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 over, while Charlie, using a remote-controlled toy car, finds him and lures him to a secret space to hide him from his parents.

Zoey finds Charlie's remote controlled toy and speaks to the camera as she knows Charlie is watching; she say's that she will hide in his secret hiding-place. Dwayne takes her hostage as James and Mary subdue him. The family realizes that they are no better than the gang, and they decide not to turn him over.

With their deadline having passed, the gang proceeds 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 the gang is about kill Mary, several of the family's neighbors, led by the Ferrins, arrive and kill most of the Purger gang. The leader attacks the family, but Zoey steps out from a hallway and kills him with Henry's gun. Just as the Sandins believe they are safe, however, the neighbours reveal they have come there to kill the Sandins because they are envious of their wealth.

The neighbours tie Mary and the children up and drag them into the hallway to execute them, when Dwayne emerges and kills one of the neighbours. Mary says there has been enough killing and, along with Dwayne, watches the neighbours while they wait out the remainder of the Purge.

Just before the purge is set to end, Grace Ferrin (Arija Bareikis) attempts to grab Mary's gun off the table, intent on gunning the Sandins down, but Mary breaks her nose. Dawn comes and sirens sound announcing the end of the Purge. The neighbours leave for their own homes along with Dwayne. Mary, Zoey, and Charlie watch as emergency services come to retrieve the dead. News reports state this Purge is the most successful Purge to date.





  • 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[4] and released in theatres on June 7, 2013 in the United States.[5]

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."[6] The film holds a score of 41 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 33 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".[7]

On io9, Charlie Jane Anders described it as "a clunky and implausible political screed in movie form."[8] 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."[9]

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.[10] 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][11]


Main article: The Purge: Anarchy

Due to the success of the first film, a sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, was developed by Universal and Blumhouse. It was released worldwide on July 18, 2014.[12][13] 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.[14]


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.[15] 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".[16] Horror news website Bloody Disgusting gave the play "four skulls" and praised the show for its acting and storyline.[17]

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

External links[edit]