One of my favorite hallmarks of speculative fiction has always been when the creators envision a futuristic world that, on the surface, is an idyllic paradise, but where these appearances hide a sinister truth. Such is the situation presented in this new trailer for The Purge.
From low-budget masters Blumhouse Pictures (Paranormal Activity, Dark Skies), and staring Ethan Hawke—who worked with them on Sinister last year—The Purge predicts an America that has been reborn. The crime rate has been reduced to a miniscule 1%. Why this drastic change you ask? Because of something called the Purge, a one-night free-for-all where citizens are allowed to commit any crime their little hearts desire. Over the course of a 12-hour period, anything goes, even murder. A response to widespread crime and violence, the aim is for everyone to get all their crazy out at once so it won’t bubble to the surface at random times.
When a stranger invades the secure home of James Sandin (Hawke), his wife Mary (Lena Headey), and their children, during one of these evenings, it puts them in harms way. With no one to call for help, they have to make it through the night alive, hopefully with their humanity intact.
This concept sounds something like Battle Royale crossed with The Most Dangerous Game, especially since in the trailer there is definitely a group out in force, hunting human quarry. [Editor’s incredibly geeky note: It’s also reminiscent of the Star Trek, original series episode “Return of the Archons”. You know, the one with Landru. Clearly Brent is not of the body!]
People should know better than to go outside on a night where you can slaughter someone with zero consequences. This clip is strung together to make The Purge look more like a straight up horror film, but the dystopic elements definitely play into sci-fi side of things.
Written and directed by James DeMonaco, who wrote the Assault on Precinct 13 remake, The Purge opens on May 31.