Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Purge (2013)

The year is 2022. America's unemployment is at 1%. Crime is at an all-time low. Violence barely exists, with one exception... Purge Day, the day all emergency services are suspended from 7pm to 7am and all crime is decriminalized. This is the story of one family's struggle during the night of the Purge.

Now, if only I could purge my memory of this horror-ble movie...

1. After his son lets a homeless man into their house, Ethan Hawke becomes the target of a psychotic group of teenagers who claim he has their Purge target, and if they don't return him, Ethan Hawke and his family will die. Right off the bat, the first red flag goes up for this movie. Ethan Hawke sells high-tech home security systems to rich people, and also has the same system for his own house, equipped with motion-sensitive cameras and a solid metal sheathing that covers all of the windows and doors. When Ethan Hawke arms the security system, he opens a gun safe where we see all of two guns... really? Your house is a barricaded fortress and you only have two guns? You live in a society where people are allowed to go ape-shit once a year and you only have two guns in your whole house? That's just the tip of the iceberg. His wife asks why he is scared, and he proceeds to inform her that the security system is all for show. It doesn't actually do anything, and wasn't meant for actually keeping people out of their house. Well, he's right, and the inevitable happens. The killers break in, Ethan Hawke gets killed, and the nonsense beguiles. Maybe if your dumb ass had a working security system you wouldn't have been shanked by a skinny dork in a suit.

2. Why is it so difficult to keep track of your family in that house? The daughter goes missing for half the movie, meanwhile the son is hiding BY HIMSELF in some room. Seriously? Ethan Hawke and his wife just leave their son in a room while they wander their house in the dark. Great parenting. I guess they figure nothing could happen to the kid to make him any more messed up than he already is. The dude has a half-burned doll that he's glued to an R/C car, which coincidentally has glowing red eyes and plays static-filled music from the 1940's. All of this is apparently normal as no one says anything about it. Well, I'll say it - dude's a freak.

3. Let's talk about the day after Purge day. Rather, the biggest plot hole in this awkward abomination. What happens the next morning when the streets are covered in the corpses of purge victims? How do people get to work when cars are ablaze and streets are cluttered with the fiery aftermath of the previous night? Even more confusing, do people even have jobs to go to the next day? What happens when a customer walks into Taco Bell and the cashier is collapsed on the counter with blood pooling next to the chimichanga stand? "Oh, well. I guess I'm not having tacos today." As they stroll off with a handful of blood-stained Mild sauce packets. And for the people that work for the corporations, does the company simply collapse after the board of directors are found piled in the parking lot? How can unemployment be at 1% if no one can keep a consistent staff? Are you telling me that someone would walk into a bank full of dead employees and NOT take any money? How can crime be at an all-time low? Are we supposed to believe only the good, honest people are left alive after the purge? Wouldn't that also make them the killers? So, they'll kill people, but they won't steal cash or tacos? I don't buy it.

4. The whole movie is just one big fat message about the wealthy oppression on the lower income members of society. This is made abundantly clear when we see the rich family of Ethan Hawke tie up the homeless man in order to offer him as a sacrifice to the killers, as a way to save his own family. During this scene, the homeless man's dog tags pop out of his shirt and start gleaming in the light. This was meant to hit the audience in the face, while the actors themselves never reference it. While the killers wait, they reference the homeless man as "pig" and "swine", constantly belittling and dehumanizing him. So, of course he has to be the hero of the movie. Ethan Hawke's neighbors show up just in time and kill the psychotic group of teenagers one by one. Ready for a predictable twist? The neighbors tie up Ethan Hawke's family and try to kill them. Why? Because Ethan Hawke sold them their security systems and they are crazy fucking suburbanites. The homeless man shows up and beats the shit out of the neighbors, after which everyone is forced to sit at a table and wait for the purge to end. I'm sorry, but if you tried to kill my kids then I'd be all out of mercy.

5. After the bloody night has passed, we see Ethan Hawke's wife and children allow their neighbors to leave and then the movie ends... that's it? So, now what? Won't it be a little awkward knowing all of your neighbors tried to kill you? Do they just keep living in the same neighborhood after that? It doesn't give us any closure and only raises more questions. Right after it ended, I came up with a much better ending and it only took five minutes. Picture this: After purge night, we see Ethan Hawke's wife and children laying on a beach some years later... maybe one year later. Everyone is relaxed and relieved to be out of America and away from the purge. On a portable TV set at the beach-side bar, we hear that purge day has officially been announced in whatever country they've fled to. The daughter looks up at her mom, and the son sits and trembles as the purge siren is heard over the horizon. Cut to black. The End. Now, was that so hard? It just goes to show the lack of imagination in the writing for this movie.

In closing, the movie isn't scary. Like I said, it's all one big message about class warfare taken to a literal enactment by a bunch of skinny white dudes and their crazy, machete-wielding bitches, with ironically, the only sane man being the one they're trying to kill. It's a step down for Ethan Hawke from "Sinister" and new twist on sticking messages in horror movies. If you're bored, give it a watch, but don't expect to feel satisfied afterward.

 2 out of 4

It's a new idea among a sea of copycats, so it can't be completely discredited.

Cheers and goodnight.

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