The Purge


The Purge

Critics Consensus

Half social allegory, half home-invasion thriller, The Purge attempts to make an intelligent point, but ultimately devolves into numbing violence and tired clichés.



Reviews Counted: 149

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 96,374


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 2.9/5

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Movie Info

If on one night every year, you could commit any crime without facing consequences, what would you do? In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. 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. Directed by James DeMonaco (writer of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Negotiator), The Purge is produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister), Platinum Dunes' partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Amityville Horror, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), as well as Sébastien Kurt Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13).(c) Universal

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Ethan Hawke
as James Sandin
Lena Headey
as Mary Sandin
Adelaide Kane
as Zoey Sandin
Max Burkholder
as Charlie Sandin
Edwin Hodge
as Bloody Stranger
Rhys Wakefield
as Polite Leader
Arija Bareikis
as Mrs. Grace Ferrin
Tom Yi
as Mr. Cali
Chris Mulkey
as Mr. Halverson
Tisha French
as Mrs. Halverson
Dana Bunch
as Mr. Ferrin
Peter Gvozdas
as Dr. Peter Buynak
John Weselcouch
as Freak Interrupting
Alicia Vela-Bailey
as Female Freak
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News & Interviews for The Purge

Critic Reviews for The Purge

All Critics (149) | Top Critics (36)

  • Writer-director James DeMonaco's The Purge fritters away its promise in lurid, frenzied violence.

    Jun 13, 2013 | Rating: C | Full Review…
  • DeMonaco clearly hopes to make a significant moral statement on the level of Shirley Jackson's literary masterpiece The Lottery. Alas, his aim at political conservatives who support the gun lobby falls flat before he can pull the trigger.

    Jun 12, 2013 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • If The Purge is as far-sighted as Network proved to be, we are in for very ugly times.

    Jun 10, 2013 | Full Review…
  • That old horror-movie standard, a homestead besieged by psychos, gets remixed with a bit of Occupy-era class-conflict satire in the disappointing future-set thriller The Purge.

    Jun 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Gimmicky chiller lacks the robustness and distinction needed to support its social-commentary ambitions.

    Jun 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • The blunt instrument plot allows for a few sneaky moments of satire and social commentary lite.

    Jun 7, 2013 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Purge

Couldn't agree more with the critic consensus.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer


What comes up as a thought-provoking allegory that doesn't shy away from the sociopolitical implications of its premise soon gets lost in a last half hour that falls flat with a ridiculous excess of dei ex machina and reduces the Purge to what seems like a laughable sect.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

You will go into The Purge intrigued by its premise and you will leave very disappointed. In a futuristic America, the new government (called the Founding Fathers) has managed to eliminate murder and unemployment by making all crime legal for one night each year. The logic is that this night of "purging" allows us to let loose our animalistic nature as well as letting the poor, less contributing members of society kill each other off. The film does not expand on these concepts, leaving much to be desired. It'll be too easy for critics to expose all of its flaws as a plausible system. Instead, the plot devolves into a standard home invasion movie that is predictable and populated with really, really stupid characters. The Purge is an example of taking a cool set up and turning it into cliche, forgettable crap.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


Cliches around every corner, "The Purge" tries very hard to be original, but in the end, it's clever twist on the genre that the trailers make it out to be, kind of falls flat, with hardly any suspense or genuine terror throughout the film. Ethan Hawk is a great actor, so the film is held together well performance-wise, but the script is so simple and uninspired that the plot of the film is completely shit on in the final act. There is hardly any development as to why this "Purge" happens every year and by the end, anything that has been set up in the first two acts is completely ruined. Once the third act kicks off, moments that are supposed to be intense have no suspense, and sad moments happen in an instant and then move on to something else, leaving you no time to cope. Once the killers get possession of the home, the entire film pretty much goes downhill. This movie has LAME written all over it. The idea is interesting but that is all I will remember this for, just a missed opportunity, and the final 10 minutes will have you laughing, unintentionally. "The Purge" is a bad film that had the potential of being great in the right hands.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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