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Theatrical release poster
(Hospitality Services version)
|Directed by||James DeMonaco|
|Produced by||Jason Blum
Sébastien K. Lemercier
|Written by||James DeMonaco|
|Music by||Nathan Whitehead|
|Edited by||Peter Gvozdas|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||85 minutes|
|Box office||$89.3 million|
The Purge is a 2013 American science fiction 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. The film was turned into a scare zone for 2014's annual Halloween Horror Nights due to its success. 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 unemployment and crime rate have fallen to only 1%, and the economy is at an all time high. After the 28th constitutional amendment was ratified, 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, 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, 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.
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 himself locks the building and all the exits. 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.
Hours before the annual Purge commences, security system salesman James Sandin returns to his home in an affluent Los Angeles suburb to prepare for holding out the night with his wife Mary and their two children, Zoey and Charlie. 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, 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, 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 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 inadvertently stumbles into the space, and 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 neighbors, 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 neighbors reveal they had come there to kill the Sandins because they are jealous of their wealth due to the sales of security systems. Dwayne emerges and kills one of the neighbors before they can kill the Sandins. Mary says there has been too much killing that night and along with Dwayne, watches the neighbors while they wait out the remainder of the Purge in peace.
Just before the end-of-purge siren sounds, Grace Ferrin 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 neighbors 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, spurring the stock market with sales of more security systems and weapons.
- Ethan Hawke as James Sandin
- Lena Headey as Mary Sandin
- Adelaide Kane as Zoey Sandin
- Max Burkholder as Charlie Sandin
- 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 Purge was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on October 8, 2013.
The Purge received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes records a rating of 38% based on 131 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." The film holds a score of 41 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 33 critics, signifying "mixed or average reviews".
On io9, Charlie Jane Anders described it as "a clunky and implausible political screed in movie form." 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."
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. 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.
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. 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.
In July 2014 the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre held a play entitled Seinfeld: The Purge, which parodied both Seinfeld and The Purge. The play, which was written by Justin Donaldson, focused on what each Seinfeld character would do during a purge, such as George trying to purge Joe Temple, a friend George viewed a movie with in the sixth season of Seinfeld. Horror news website Bloody Disgusting gave the play four skulls and praised the show for its acting and storyline.
- Crypteia, an annual event during which members of the ruling class of Sparta were permitted to kill members of the subjugated helot population without incurring criminal or civil liability.
- List of films featuring home invasions
- "The Return of the Archons", a 1967 episode of Star Trek in which an otherwise placid society is allowed pre-scheduled 12-hour periods of lawlessness and violence.
- Madeinusa, a 2005 film about a village that believes it is impossible to sin from Good Friday to Easter.
- The Powerpuff Girls episode, Bought and Scold, also featured the concept of legalizing crime.
- "The Purge' (15)". British Board of Film Classification. April 30, 2013. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- 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.
- "The Purge (2013) – Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
- Kit, Borys. "Ethan Hawke's The Purge to Open Inaugural Stanley Film Festival". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
- "The Purge (2013) – International Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "The Purge (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Warner Bros. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
- "The Purge". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
- Anders, Charlie Jane (2013-06-07). "The Purge could be this year's most hamfisted political movie". io9. Gawker Media. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- Nashawaty, Chris (2013). "The Purge". Entertainment Weekly (1263): 72. Retrieved 9 June 2013.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for June 7-9, 2013". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
- "The Purge shocks with $36.4 million opening at box office". Newsday. Associated Press. 2013-06-09. Retrieved 10 June 2013.
- "The Purge has a sequel in development". 10 June 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "Universal Re-Slots The Purge: Anarchy". Deadline.com. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- "Seinfeld: The Purge". UCB Theater. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Cooper, Patrick. "What Would Seinfeld Do During ‘The Purge’?". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Cooper, Patrick. "[Review] Fans of "Seinfeld" Are Going to Flip for ‘Seinfeld: The Purge’". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- Official website
- Official website at Blumhouse Productions' website
- The Purge at the Internet Movie Database
- The Purge at Box Office Mojo
- The Purge at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Purge at Metacritic
- The Purge at AllMovie by Jason Buchanan