Siege movies touch a chord with most of us. After all, who doesn't want to protect their home from invaders?
The Purge* is one of those movies that came out of nowhere with very little hype and for most of the duration is a gripping affair.
Set in the near future on an annual night where killing is legal, it centres on Ethan Hawke and his dysfunctional family. He earns a crust selling state of the art security systems, mostly to his swanky neighbours, who seem miffed that he's made so much cash from their sales.
During lockdown, a homeless African American is let into this des res fortress by the clan's obligatory gadget-loving son. Before long, masked assailants demand he is released into their lethal custody, but as all hell breaks loose, there are a few twists and turns and the tension builds.
As a thriller the movie ticks all the boxes, even if it does resort to well worn-cliches such as the fridge gag - closed fridge, protagonist opens door blocking view, closes door, antagonist revealed.
The cast are most excellent, especially Hawke and Lena Headey as the besieged marrieds, and the lead psycho, Aussie Rhys Wakefield, who would make an excellent Joker, is convincing enough. Ivy League nutcases seem so much more chilling than many generic villains; see Funny Games for further proof.
The finale is inevitable, but the wheels are in danger of coming off, especially during a predictable twist. One antagonist lets the side down with their dazed MO supposedly enough to warrant manslaughter. Sorry, I didn't buy it.
At 80 plus minutes, it doesn't outstay its welcome. It's also open ended enough to warrant a sequel. Highly recommended.
* During the movie I had a nagging reminder of The Assault on Precinct 13 remake, with Ethan Hawke. Little wonder as it was scripted by the same bloke, James DeMonaco.