Written by / 6/09/2013 / 1 Comment / , , ,

THE PURGE

year: 2013 cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Heady, Rhys Wakefield, Adelaide Kane, Chris Mulkey rating: **1/2 
Here’s an annual holiday you won’t get a Hallmark Card for... Not a nice one, anyhow. For in  a revamped America, to cut down on crime or the frustration that causes it to happen in the first place, people are allowed to break any law without recourse. Simply put, for twelve straight hours the “Land of the Free” becomes a no-holds-barred riot and the upper class needs high priced protection.

Enter family man Ethan Hawke as James Sandin who, with the best house in the neighborhood thanks to a lucrative job in home security, has made a killing off his neighbors: When the annual Purge happens you need to keep the bad guys out. And for the record, STRAW DOGS wasn’t only remade once: During the final act of the 1971 Sam Peckinpah film, a husband and wife harbor a desperate man that a gang of unruly antagonists want in exchange of their lives. The heavies cause havoc in the exterior, and eventually interior, of their seemingly impenetrable home. Same thing here: after Sandin’s naive son allows a hunted man access inside, a gang of mask-wearing loons prance around the front lawn (imagine the Manson family at a masquerade party) with one lethal goal in their twisted minds.

Despite the preposterously far fetched plot, the contained atmosphere builds suspense within the perspective of each family member as the invading foes encroach. The video camera device from the low budget PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise is used sporadically... the camera being part of the son’s remote control vehicle… adding edgy horror flick atmosphere to the bloody action. And while Ethan Hawke has a decent character arc, turning from mild mannered rich guy into John J. Rambo, gang leader Rhys Wakefield is the most fun to root against.

Although the final twist, as the true villains are revealed, is somewhat contrived and ultimately anticlimactic, this is an entertainingly nerve-racking thriller that goes in one ear and out the other. And in less than ninety minutes, you won’t have time to realize how stupid you might feel for enjoying yourself in the process.
The antagonists of Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS
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1 comment:

  1. Was definitely contemplating seeing this. Great review as always sir. I might have to get in a darkened theater and peek this one out.

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