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The Purge (I) (2013)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  7 June 2013 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 121,963 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 550 user | 352 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.



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Cast overview:
Mr. Ferrin
Peter Gvozdas ...
Female Freak


In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide. Written by Universal Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Reminder all emergency services will be suspended for a 12-hour period during the purge. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong disturbing violence and some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

7 June 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Vigilandia  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$34,058,360 (USA) (7 June 2013)


$64,423,650 (USA) (2 August 2013)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Annual Purge falls on March 22nd. The day before is March 21st, or 3...2...1... See more »


At the beginning of the film, where the highlights of the Purge are shown, some of the scenes in "USA" cities are clearly set in British cities as characterized by the UK road marking system and the single- and double-yellow "no waiting" lines at the sides of the road. See more »


[Charlie talks about a man cutting out his heart for his lover]
Zoey Sandin: Why didn't he just cut off his penis?
Mary Sandin: We are having dinner! No penises!
See more »


References Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City (2010) See more »


Clair de Lune
Written by Claude Debussy
Arranged by Alfred Reed
Performed by Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.
Published by Klams Music & Co, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wasted potential, just a generic home invasion film.
10 June 2013 | by See all my reviews

From the producers of Paranormal Activity (as is all horror films these days) The Purge tells the story of a near future were crime is at an all time low and unemployment stands at under 1% of the US population, to compensate for one night a year all crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours allowing society some kind of release.

The film revolves around the Sandin family who are confronted by a group of college students hunting a man on the night of the Purge who the family had allowed into their home after lockdown. The Purgers (lead by Rhys Wakefield) drastically try to break into the family's home causing James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary (Lena Headey) to protect their children from the invaders in order to survive the night.

The main problem with the film is the premise itself, whilst interesting is filled with flaws and holes that just make the whole idea ridiculous. Such as what happens to the serial killers and career criminals of this world? Do they just control their urges to kill or steal for the other 364 days until the next Purge, as well what if someone has a heart attack on the night of The Purge? Is it just a case of bad luck you chose the wrong night to need medical care?

Despite the flaws of the premise, the film repeatedly ignores the possibilities of the premise, instead of exploring the ideas behind the Purge or the events that occur on the night of the Purge from different perspectives and situations. Instead the film settles for a typical home invasion story that although done well, is nothing we haven't seen done in many other films. The Purge in the end seems to only be the premise of this film to stop the age old question of "Why don't they just call the police?" in home invasion films.

To the films credit it is quite subtle, there's a running theme that the Purge is just an excuse for the upper classes to exterminate the poor, driven by all the attackers wearing prep school blazers and the person they are chasing wearing dog tags around his neck. The film also contains some strong performances, especially from Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Lord of War) and Lena Headey (Dredd, Game of Thrones) who carry the film throughout. The film also has a twist near the end which allows the audience to get inside the heads of the people during this night.

That cant be said for the leader of the Purger's played by Rhys Wakefield (Sanctum, Home and Away)whose performance is slightly cringe worthy, hes trying to be psychotic yet in control of the proceedings but it just comes across as a amateur dramatics' version of The Joker. He just never seems like a really threat and just a creepy next door neighbour.

The film also contains some bizarre and just plain weird set pieces, such as the families' son who builds a spy camera on a chard baby doll on the top of a rhino tank from Warhammer 40,000. The thing looks like a demented contraption from Sid's bedroom in Toy Story.

Overall, The Purge is an OK home invasion film, there are moments of suspense and a couple of jump scares are effective. The wasted potential of the premise is the films main downfall which could have lead to a more effective and possible original film then what we got in the end.

142 of 192 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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