Review: The Purge (Gag Me)

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In 2022, we have a pristine America thanks to a “holiday” dedicated to getting our ya-yas out risk free. For 12 hours a year the rich retreat to their titanium shielded McCastles and the poor cower in wait for the purge parties to taunt, torture, rape, immolate, slice or dice them: the vulnerable die, the invulnerable hide and the people watching would like this hamfisted treatise on America’s confused aggression to get a high school diploma.

I’m all for parables about America, and dystopian stories can do that well, but The Purge has a phenomenally immature grip on its philosophy. We’re meant to believe temporary carte blanche for mayhem is both patriotic and redemptive, and another film might make that credible but this one makes it ridiculous.

When the rich begin assaulting each other The Purge is like the "final solution" for “keeping up with the Joneses,” and if they’d just walked down that path a little more, I might have rustled up some interest, but the entire enterprise spends more time explaining itself than getting to the action—its ideal audience is the high school horror crowd and it talks that audience to death reiterating overt questions: “Is this really America?” “Is this about the rich killing the poor?” Can The Purge stop repeating itself? The answer is “no” and you’ll spend a lot of this home invasion horror not mad the film’s so obvious or redundant, but sad it’s not asking better questions.

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