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post #1 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 06:42 AM Thread Starter
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The Purge - Blu-ray Review


Title: The Purge

Movie:
Video:
Audio:
Extras:


HTS Overall Score:80.5




Summary
The year is 2022 and Americans are enjoying an unprecedented atmosphere of national stability. Unemployment rates are ridiculously low, crime isn’t an issue, and the masses are just smitten with the conditions. The cause is a law set-up by what appears to be a newly transformed government called “The New Founding Fathers.” The law dictates that one night a year the Police, Fire Department, and Emergency Services shutter their doors and lawlessness becomes the norm. Gone are the legal and social blockades to violence – every American is given a free ticket to murder. Yes, you read that correctly: killing is a-ok. The rich and wealthy have the means to protect themselves, so drug addicts, criminals, the homeless, and the poor become the primary targets for a nation of blood thirsty killers. Aside from cleansing the streets of low life punks, this “Purge” day is meant to satisfy what behavioral scientists claim is a human need to be violent and aggressive. Just one night of killing a year is enough to appease the innate murderous yearnings of humans: kill a little and soul-cleansed happiness follows.

The Purge is a huge event. It has spawned new industries and traditions...even television entertainment. Think of it as a national holiday; the birth of a new Thanksgiving Day.


Ethan Hawke plays the role of Mr. James Sandin, presented as a clean-cut Dudley-do-right sales rep for a company that installs home protection systems designed specifically to provide safety during the Purge. Sandin, whose home is a mansion plopped down in an exceedingly wealthy neighborhood, lives with his wife (Lean Headey), introverted son Charlie (Max Burkholder), and rebelling teen daughter Zoey (Adelaide Kane). As the film begins, the family is making final preparations for lockdown in their lavish home. They have a fancy dinner, a contentious family chit-chat, and then perform the ceremony of securing their house with automated window and door shields.

As the night progresses, their plan for safety is completely derailed when socially conscious Charlie sees a homeless man pleading for help on the home’s video system. Charlie disarms the house and lets the man in. That move draws the attention of a mob of frolicking gun toting prep-school hooligans that have been chasing the homeless man for sport. They don’t like the fact that he’s been granted safety and issue an ultimatum: cough him up or they will “release the beast” and kill the entire family. Thus begins a total home invasion slaughter event at the Sandin residence. It’s an ax-wielding gun-slinging stalk-fest that turns into a blood bath of epic proportions.

Director James DeMonaco’s attempt to make the film a social commentary on guns fails miserably (truthfully, it’s hard to identify the theme amongst the killings). Even Hawke jokingly admits during an interview that he doesn’t quite know what was “going on” in DeMonaco’s head when wrote the script. While morality is injected into the film at key moments, violence primarily reigns supreme and the film really becomes a series of scenes designed to build tension and pop sudden scares. There are loads of riveting moments, many of which end-up being anything but predictable and death and violence are almost assured. There are also layers of spooky imagery (such as the masks and bizarre physical movements of the prep-school hooligans) and loads of gore.

The film sets-up well with an interesting premise and its unpredictability has a certain charm, but that doesn’t take long to wear off. Unfortunately the extreme violence just feels in appropriate. It’s entertainment by death, with evil characters that seem all to happy to execute their sinister violence. It’s a game to them and in this day and age of mass shootings, it hits just a bit too close to home to be called quality entertainment. DeMonaco can imply that the film is an attempt to subvert societal acceptance of guns and killing, but it’s a tough line to believe.



Rating:
R for strong disturbing violence and some language.

Video
The Purge is deliciously easy on the eyes. Universal Studios delivers a 2.40:1 MPEG-4 AVC transfer that is well above average with an extremely sharp image. High definition is on full display packed with the tiniest of details visible on most objects. The film has two distinct hues. Well lit scenes are bathed with a tan push that works rather well. Dark and poorly lit indoor scenes are presented with slick silvery-grey overtones. Despite these hues, the majority of colors in the film are excellent, including skin tones which remain natural throughout. Blacks are thick and inky, giving way to loads of shadow detail. Crush, which would devastate a dark film like The Purge, isn’t evident. Aside from point-of-view camera shots taken from a roving robot, there are only a few instances where noise is evident in darker scenes.







Audio
The Purge’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is fantastic and a true bright spot of the release. The film begins by leaning heavily on the front soundstage. Dialog is immediately established as warm and deep and remains intelligible for the duration of the film. Sound movement and directionality across the front stage is also excellent, with small details (like crickets chirping) making appearances out of specific channels to a very pleasing effect. Nathan Whitehead’s (known for additional work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Battleship) original score is crisp and expansive, occasionally making its way to the rear channels. Of course being a horror movie, there are loads of sounds throughout the story to inject a startle response, all of which snap with sharp clarity. As the movie progresses and the action begins, the rear channels come to life to an absolutely delightful effect. My theater room began to sound like it had metal walls being pounded mercilessly from all directions! Rattles, bangs, whispers, and other sounds all poured into the room from all directions. Bass-heads unite! Low Frequency Effects are hot and heavy throughout The Purge. Deep and dark rumbles hit hard with nasty authority and frequently build to crescendo to match the tension on the screen.

While not as bombastic as a mega-Hollywood blockbuster, The Purge's audio is simply fantastic.


Extras:
• Redemption: Behind the Scenes Featurette











Overall:
The Purge is a tough film to recommend. I’m a fan of horror movies and am usually immune to gore, but this film takes it just a bit too far. Long stretches of violent hunts led by the giddy prep-school gang are sadistic and just feel inappropriate. While they do setup some interesting moments where the characters are forced to make moral decisions, the overall wave of violence and hints at deeply rooted murderous ambitions dominate the tone to an unfortunate degree. The audio and video on the release are excellent, with the dynamic and thunderous audio presentation being the star of the show. The release’s one “extra” is lame – sorry, Universal...just keepin’ it real – and will surely disappoint any fan of the movie.

Put The Purge in your queue if you absolutely love violent horror films. It has a few moments that will probably make it worth your while. Otherwise, this is a film that nearly everyone else is best off avoiding.


Additional Information:
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Written by: James DeMonaco
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish 5.1
Studio: Universal Studios
Rated: R
Runtime: 86 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 8, 2013


Buy The Purge Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: A watch for fans of violence, otherwise pass

Last edited by Todd Anderson; 10-13-13 at 09:12 PM.
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 06:51 AM
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I was hoping for a more favorable review on this one, but prefer the truth. Thanks for the review I will still pick it up used it sounds somewhat interesting.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 06:57 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

I'll give a SLIGHTLY different take on the film. I agree with a lot of Todd's points. the flaws ARE there. the one thing I slightly disagree with is the usage of the violence. it wasn't as much "gratuitous torture" that repulses me (ala the saw films and hostel), but the over the top super violence truly made this film a "Horror" film. it was that kind that totally left you feeling horrified and sick to your stomach at the end, making you hate the characters for the monsters they were. the social commentary was rather interesting, albeit a bit far fetched. and the premise definitely lent itself to opening up the door into new possibilies. the main flaw that Todd touched on was that the film felt like they crammed too many things in at once.

I'd probably give the film a 3.5/5 personally (is it sad that now that I review all the time I think of movies in terms of number ratings ? ). I'd still recommend checking it out for true horror buffs, but as Todd mentioned... Be warned, like the new Evil Dead this is not for the squeamish

I was especially surprised since it's green lit for a sequel when it made $87 million on a $3 million budget

as I enjoyed it pretty solidly I'm ecstatic on the great audio and video scores . thanks for the review Todd
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

I wouldn't disagree with your points, Mike, at all. This film definitely walks a thin line of being just enough or too much... really depends on what floats yer boat.

The Purge had me for about half the film... maybe a tad more. It lost me once the prep-school gang gained entry to the house. I guess that was my threshold...maybe I was having an usually sensitive day.

I'll be curious to hear what everyone has to say on this one... it's DEFINITELY a movie that will spark some good discussion!
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 07:13 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

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Todd Anderson wrote: View Post
I wouldn't disagree with your points, Mike, at all. This film definitely walks a thin line of being just enough or too much... really depends on what floats yer boat.

The Purge had me for about half the film... maybe a tad more. It lost me once the prep-school gang gained entry to the house. I guess that was my threshold...maybe I was having an usually sensitive day.

I'll be curious to hear what everyone has to say on this one... it's DEFINITELY a movie that will spark some good discussion!
oh yeah, this type of horror movie is always down to a taste thing. and yeah, the prep school gang was the eye popper for me

and you're right, the social commentary stuff in there is most DEFINITELY a topic starter !!!
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 08:00 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

Many times I have thought about renting this one but keep skipping it because I hear it is not all that great but based on your review and since I am a horror fan I will just go ahead and get it. Maybe watch it this weekend.
Thank you for the excellent review!
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 08:01 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

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asere wrote: View Post
Many times I have thought about renting this one but keep skipping it because I hear it is not all that great but based on your review and since I am a horror fan I will just go ahead and get it. Maybe watch it this weekend.
Thank you for the excellent review!
with an avatar like that asere you'd be remiss to not view it
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 08:42 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review Todd!

It definitely sounds like a skip for me as I have never really been a big horror movie fan. I do enjoy a good social commentary film, but it sounds like the violence pushes that to the side.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-11-13, 09:49 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

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Mike Edwards wrote: View Post
with an avatar like that asere you'd be remiss to not view it
I grew up watching slasher films. Can't keep away from the classics!
I wish todays horror films where filmed like back then without many special effects. I think too much can ruin a movie.
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-12-13, 12:19 AM
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Re: The Purge - Blu-ray Review

Thanks for the review Todd. Classification of this movie doesn't quite fit as a horror movie in my opinion and thought it more in the realm of an ultra-violent thriller. Even Wiki lists it as a Science Fiction Thriller. "A Clockwork Orange" and "Passion of the Christ" were both incredibly violent and to this day are considered to be good movies by most folks and they are not horror movies. I consider this movie to be on par with the uncut version of "High Tension" an ultra violent slasher. The wife and I liked "The Purge" and it did bring out some social commentary after watching it, in fact a couple hours later we were still talking about it like it was a Utopian ideal with one tiny little 12 hour flaw once every year. I will probably buy it for that reason alone.
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