Trailer Review: The Purge (2013)

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey star in this new thriller which has a rather absurd concept.

Posted April 18, 2013 by


Director(s): James DeMonaco
Starring: Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Tony Oller
US Release Date: 13 May 2013
Total Score

Your Rating
14 total ratings


In the near future the American government decides to try a radical new approach to tackle crime. They will allow ordinary citizens one night during the year where they can commit crime without being punished by the law. The idea ostensibly is that it will give ordinary citizens the chance to release any pent up frustration or negative urges they have inside them. The emergency services will be suspended on this night and so will the police. That is the main concept in this new horror thriller and it is a very strange idea that defies logic. The film takes place several years after the Purge experiment which happens one night every year.

The trailer gives the viewer the impression that the experiment is a success as titles on the screen indicate that crime is at an all time low as a result of the Purge. This knowledge is surprising and it makes the films plot even more bizarre. The negative repercussions of such a disastrous idea are many and it would take ages to debate all of them. The film may struggle to come up with a plausible explanation as to how this idea could work. Maybe the film operates on the idea that some people would be motivated to be nicer to each other. This decision would be borne out of fear of reprisals from enemies when the Purge comes round. If a person has no enemies then they are less likely to be targeted during the Purge. Things are never that simple though and people are not always able to control their negative urges. Most perpetrators would not behave all year and politely wait for one night to commit crimes. The Purge seems to be an experiment that takes the idea of Individualist anarchism to the extreme.

In the film Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play a rich family with a young son and daughter living in a nice neighborhood. When the Purge hits they barricade themselves in their well-fortified home and try to ride out the storm. Things fall apart however when a young man turns up on their doorstep begging for help and seeking refuge from a mob. The man then enters the home when the young son in the family disables the security system. The system is then quickly reactivated and the man joins the family as they wait for the Purge to end. Unfortunately the masked gang that is after the man turn up on the doorstep and threaten the family. If they gives up the victim they will be left alone. If not they will all be killed. All hell then breaks loose as the protagonists try to defend themselves from the attackers. The Purge is basically another home invasion movie that the writers have tried to spice upĀ  with an unconventional plot.

The action in the trailer is thrilling and The Purge is certainly a movie that will attract attention. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey are well cast as the rich couple and they are reliable actors. Max Burkholder and Adelaide Kane also look fairly convincing as the son and daughter. The trailer is also nicely edited and it makes clever use of CCTV footage. The music is effective and it gets progressively creepy towards the end of the trailer. The masked killers also look rather psychotic and the ringleader (played by Rhys Wakefield) delivers a chilling ultimatum to the family which is very effective at creating tension. The Purge is a movie that has the potential to be an effective horror thriller. Everything hinges on how well made the film is and whether or not people are willing to suspend enough disbelief to accept the plot. Some viewers may disregard the film entirely because the main concept is too ridiculous for them.

The fact that The Purge is a home invasion movie means that it will no doubt focus on the main protagonists. This would be a shame as it would be cool to also see the effects the Purge has on wider society. Doing this would also elevate the film to something more than just another home invasion genre effort.

Fans willing to suspend disbelief regarding the ludicrous plot in The Purge can catch the movie when it is released on May 31st.

Have a look at the trailer and share your thoughts.

Be a Roobla Writer

Leave an Opinion

Leave your mark by commenting your opinion below - no signing up required!
Just start writing and hit 'post comment'.

One Opinion


    From the producers of Paranormal Activity (as is all horror films these days) The Purge tells the story of a near future were crime is at an all time low and unemployment stands at under 1% of the US population, to compensate for one night a year all crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours allowing society some kind of release.

    The film revolves around the Sandin family who are confronted by a group of college students hunting a man on the night of the Purge who the family had allowed into their home after lockdown. The Purgers (lead by Rhys Wakefield) drastically try to break into the family’s home causing James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary (Lena Headey) to protect their children from the invaders in order to survive the night.

    The main problem with the film is the premise itself, whilst interesting is filled with flaws and holes that just make the whole idea ridiculous. Such as what happens to the serial killers and career criminals of this world? Do they just control their urges to kill or steal for the other 364 days until the next Purge, as well what if someone has a heart attack on the night of The Purge? Is it just a case of bad luck you chose the wrong night to need medical care?

    Despite the flaws of the premise, the film repeatedly ignores the possibilities of the premise, instead of exploring the ideas behind the Purge or the events that occur on the night of the Purge from different perspectives and situations. Instead the film settles for a typical home invasion story that although done well, is nothing we haven’t seen done in many other films. The Purge in the end seems to only be the premise of this film to stop the age old question of “Why don’t they just call the police?” in home invasion films.

    To the films credit it is quite subtle, there’s a running theme that the Purge is just an excuse for the upper classes to exterminate the poor, driven by all the attackers wearing prep school blazers and the person they are chasing wearing dog tags around his neck. The film also contains some strong performances, especially from Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Lord of War) and Lena Headey (Dredd, Game of Thrones) who carry the film throughout. The film also has a twist near the end which allows the audience to get inside the heads of the people during this night.

    That cant be said for the leader of the Purger’s played by Rhys Wakefield (Sanctum, Home and Away)whose performance is slightly cringe worthy, hes trying to be psychotic yet in control of the proceedings but it just comes across as a amateur dramatics’ version of The Joker. He just never seems like a really threat and just a creepy next door neighbour.

    The film also contains some bizarre and just plain weird set pieces, such as the families’ son who builds a spy camera on a chard baby doll on the top of a rhino tank from Warhammer 40,000. The thing looks like a demented contraption from Sid’s bedroom in Toy Story.

    Overall, The Purge is an OK home invasion film, there are moments of suspense and a couple of jump scares are effective. The wasted potential of the premise is the films main downfall which could have lead to a more effective and possible original film then what we got in the end.

Ready to Opinionate?

Opinions are moderated and may not appear right away
Enjoy this Content?