In a future society where crime is legalised for one night a year, a family is threatened by the ensuing violence when their fortress-like home is invaded by strangers out for blood.
On the surface, The Purge seems very much like a typical stalker-horror hybrid where an ordinary family is subjected to some rather graphic violence in a similar way to the likes of Funny Games and The Strangers. The story of this film does at least attempt a more sophisticated approach however, using the analogy of the legalisation of crime as a kind of logical conclusion to neoliberalism and its associated concept of “meritocracy”; it is inevitably the poor who are the subject of violence and murder while the rich either hunker down in their secure gated communities, or indulge in hunting the “worthless” members of society. The direction is taut and atmospheric and the message underpinning the plot has some merit; unfortunately, as is often the case with this type of story, the final “twist” stretches credulity rather too far and actually manages to undermine what is otherwise a thought-provoking idea.
As a result, The Purge is a reasonably well executed shocker that could’ve been rather better if the script had shown a little more restraint.