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Wayne Post
Film news and reviews, from Hollywood to a theater near you
Short Takes: "The Purge."
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About this blog
By Erich Vandussen
Erich Van Dussen's film reviews have been featured in newspapers and magazines, on the radio, and online for more than 20 years. He lives in the Finger Lakes region.
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The Purge (R) is an above-average example of a below-average subgenre; home-invasion movies are all the rage these days, and at least this one gets you thinking before flipping the switch to Attack Mode. In 2022, America has bought itself happiness 364 days of the year, in exchange for one night every 12 months when law-and-order is officially suspended – giving citizens a chance to blow off some steam by blowing other random citizens away. It’s an intriguing premise, insufficiently explored; instead we’re asked to spend Purge Night with the Sandins, a well-to-do family whose patriarch (Ethan Hawke) sells high-tech security systems to other affluent households. But things go wrong at the Sandin house, as the family spends the night worrying about a group of weirdly polite psychos who are trying to break in. What happens in The Purge is OK, as far as it goes – give director James DeMonaco credit for establishing buckets of tension before the violence really starts – but I would rather have seen how multiple demographics were dealing with this once-a-year anarchic tilt. I guess that’s what sequels are for.

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