This is the kind of dystopian outcome you’d imagine, perhaps, might happen if, for example, a vain, bigoted, egomaniacal demagogue managed to assume power in the United States. It could happen, it really could.
The Purge is the ultimate grudge settler; the premise of this film is that for one night only there is no law. Anyone who has displeased you in the past 12 months can be killed: that guy down the street who doesn’t clean up after his dog – he’s fair game; the guy with the swarthy skin who looks foreign – he’s fair game. It’s like Channel 5’s Nightmare Neighbours Next Door on steroids; only rather than calling the police to sort things out by the rule of law – you can shoot em, stab em or beat them to death with a stick.
Thrust into the madness is the middle-class suburban Sandin family, who bravely/foolishly harbour an innocent man who is fleeing his would-be killers (fronted by the ever-so-well-spoken and polite Rhys Wakefield), whose ultimatum to the head of the household (Ethan Hawke) is – surrender the injured man or become targets yourselves.
Upstanding moralists that the Sandins are, they opt to take the latter and batten down the hatches for a night of shocks and suspense as those intent on murder try to get in while those on the inside do the darndest to stay alive until morning.
The Purge -Thursday 11.20pm on FilmFour.