Blumhouse Production’s latest low-budget venture, The Purge, appears to be a sort of synthesis of horror and dystopian science fiction. Two great tastes, right? The futuristic thriller promises to be a grim, bleak time, and this new poster serves as a reminder that you’re on your own and that you’re screwed.
The central premise of The Purge is that in the future, in an attempt to combat skyrocketing crime rates, the American government tries something drastic. For one night every year, all crime is legal. As it turns out, being able to get our ya-yas out like this once every 365 days, consequence free, does the trick, and the world is a much safer place. Unless, that is, you find yourself stuck outside on the night of the annual Purge. Then you’re on your own.
There are no emergency services, as this one sheet points out, and no one is going to come to your aid. Even if you don’t go outside, and even if you live in a high-security bunker, you’re still not entirely safe. Witness the case of James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), his wife Mary (Lena Heady), and their kids. On the night of the Purge, they batten down the hatches, raise their security barriers, and still find themselves locked in a life-or-death battle for their survival and their humanity.
The Purge is a mix of Battle Royale, Assault on Precinct 13—this was written and directed by James DeMonaco, who wrote the 2005 remake—and every other story where someone hunts human prey, which, let’s face it, is a device that has been used quite often.
You may ask yourself, if crime is legal, why do the bad guys in The Purge all seem to be wearing masks? It doesn’t matter if anyone can identify you if what you’re doing is not illegal, right? Now, I haven’t seen the movie, but my guess is that, just because it’s legal to hunt and slaughter your neighbors, doesn’t mean you want everyone to know that’s what you’re into. Say you stalk the family down the street, try to kill them, but fail. How awkward is that at the next block party? Suddenly you’re the guy who tried to murder Steve and Janice and no one wants to watch your dog when you’re away on vacation.