A marauding group of well-armed young people, led by a creepy Rhys Wakefield (“Sanctum”), channeling his inner Heath Ledger, want to cleanse the world of the homeless man. If the Sandins won’t let him out, well, then they’ll come in and get him.
The film takes a game stab at poignancy and social commentary — hey, is this all a scheme to kill off the poor people? — but it doesn’t quite succeed, and soon “The Purge” stops trying altogether.
Not unexpectedly, the movie turns into a bloody and sadistic home-invasion film, and not in a particularly good way.
There’s a long stretch where the characters do things that don’t make much sense. Not just the sociopaths — they’re expected to behave erratically — but the normal people make lots of silly and inexplicable decisions, none of which can simply be explained away by saying “they were under pressure.”
It was a bad idea to make “The Purge;” watching it might be an even worse one.
Rental Recommendation: Stylistic youthful violence? I think there’s some in “A Clockwork Orange.” Grade: A.
Email Steve Ouellette:firstname.lastname@example.org
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane
Rated: R (for strong disturbing violence and some language)
Running time: 85 minutes