Opening 15 Sep 2016
Writing credits: James DeMonaco
Principal actors: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Edwin Hodge, Betty Gabriel, JJ Soria
Here comes the perfect film for this 2016 election year in the U.S. America has reinvented itself under the slogan “America: a Nation Reborn.” In this new America politicians have introduced a holiday for March 21, a so-called Halloween for adults called The Purge. For 12 hours in the night anyone may murder anyone else without fear of arrest. This is quite practical for getting rid of an unfaithful spouse or an old granny who requires care. This year, Senator Charlie Roan (Mitchell) is endangered; after all, she is running for president on a ticket which would cancel any future Purge holidays, which only benefit the rich, especially politicians. She lost her family in a former purge, as did her body guard, Leo Barnes (Grillo). Joe Dixon (Williamson) is threatened by revengeful teenagers, whom he threw out of his shop for shoplifting. He’s not afraid, and takes position on his roof, guns in hand, supported by his son. And then there is Laney Rucker (Gabriel), who drives a rescue ambulance, picking up people and taking them to a secret underground hospital, where volunteers work throughout the night.
I loved the original Halloween costumes, which would win prizes at any contest. Otherwise, the film’s main characteristic is much blood everywhere. I’m surprised that the Catholic Church has not yet sued director DeMonaco, considering that the Midnight Purge Mass, complete with priest and altar and references to Jesus, is just a stage for more murders, with the congregation in thrall and applauding. A bit overboard, but this film is perfect for any Fantasy Film Festival and will entertain those specific audiences as did the two prior films: The Purge (2013) and The Purge: Anarchy (2014), also directed by James DeMonaco, whose only other film as director is Staten Island, although he has many credits as a script writer. (Becky Tan)