Purge lifted beyond exploitation picture

The Purge refers to a law passed in 2022, allowing American citizens to commit any act, including murder, once a year for 12 hours. This law, which is an attempt to tackle social unrest, is widely embraced.

Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey are the Sandins, a wealthy couple living in a privileged neighbourhood with their two children. It’s Purge day and the Sandins house is under lock down.

Witnessing a stranger calling for help, their son brings him into the heavily armoured house. The Freaks, a ruthless gang of youths who had been stalking the stranger played by Edwin Hodge, follow him to the house and give the Sandins an ultimatum; turn him over or they’ll break in and kill everyone.

Rhys Wakefield is great as the leader of the freaks. He reminded me of Heath Ledger’s Joker, mostly because of a strong physical resemblance to Ledger and an unsettling grin he always wore. The Freaks, wearing emotionless human looking masks, were suitably creepy.

To my surprise and disappointment, The Purge, produced by Michael Bay, has been receiving scathing reviews. I thought it was thrilling and I felt its originality and execution elevated it beyond being a simple exploitation picture.