The Purge

The Purge

James DeMonaco (2013)

15 Certificate


Our Score
Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play the husband and wife plunged into a long night's journey into day in this absorbing home-invasion thriller. Writer/director James DeMonaco is no stranger to contemporary siege scenarios having scripted The Negotiator and the 2005 remake of Assault on Precinct 13, but here he looks forward to the America of 2022, where, for 12 hours every year, any crime is allowed with no interference from the authorities. Hawke is a security salesman and the owner of a luxury home-cum-fortress, so the night promises to pass safely for him, his wife and two children. However, a good Samaritan act from his son (Max Burkholder) has them all battling to survive the depraved attentions of a vicious mob of masked murderers. Political and ethical questions loom large here: can legalised murder be justified as a catharsis for society's ills, or is "The Purge" nothing more than an excuse to cull the poor? These issues permeate what is essentially a survival-of-the-fittest tale, which is sustained by convincing lead performances and a memorably scary turn from Rhys Wakefield (reminiscent of a young David Patrick Kelly from The Warriors) as the grinning, unnervingly polite leader of the psycho gang.


The American government responds to rising crime rates by introducing an annual 12-hour period when all laws are suspended, so the people can get violent impulses out of their system. A family takes shelter at home, but when a stranger turns up asking for help, the mayhem outside soon catches up with them. Horror, starring Lena Headey and Ethan Hawke.

Cast & Crew

James Sandin Ethan Hawke
Mary Sandin Lena Headey
Charlie Sandin Max Burkholder
Zoey Sandin Adelaide Kane
Bloody stranger Edwin Hodge
Polite stranger Rhys Wakefield
George David Basila
Henry Tony Oller
Freak Nathan Clarkson
Mrs Halverson Tisha French
Mr Halverson Chris Mulkey
Ferrin Dana Bunch
Director James DeMonaco
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: UniversalGuidance: Violence, swearing.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 31 May 2013