The Purge

The Purge is based on the ridiculous premise that in order to curtail unemployment, poverty and violent crime America has become a new nation where, once a year, the citizenry is allowed to commit any crime they choose in a 12-hour period, including murder. This notion is just silly. And I think the film knows it because they include commentary in the background on television news programs where some people are against The Purge because it just means those who have money can afford security as well as weapons while the poor, destitute and homeless cannot and they constitute a vast majority of the victims during this night of free crime. Well, duh…

In fact, a few characters later on in the film even explicitly say that one of their intended victims is nothing but a “homeless pig”. That’s pretty telling. So any social commentary you find in this film is bashed over your head constantly in order for them to make their point. However, regardless of the silliness of the premise, the suspense in the film is actually pretty well done even though most of it is the result of characters acting stupidly for no apparent reason. I mentioned lazy writing in an earlier review and said one of the symptoms of lazy writing is that characters will do something completely out of character just so the plot can progress and conflict can ensue. That is par for the course in The Purge.

It’s not all bad however. Like I said earlier, the suspense is good. The acting is great, especially by Ethan Hawke (Gattaca) and Lena Headey (Dredd). And I gotta say, the casting in this film for the antagonists was pretty much perfect. I have a feeling the casting call read something like this: “WANTED: 18-22 year old actors and actresses for suspense thriller. Looking creepy as **** a plus!” The cinematography was good too using security camera footage to increase the suspense at key moments.

Overall, I would say the film is a pretty fun ride. I personally didn’t find it scary, but the primarily teen-to-twenties audience I saw it with did seem to scream a lot and when there was a particularly gory incident the crowd did seem to get a bit unsettled by it. If you’ve read my Evil Dead review you should know that I relish that kind of stuff and though there wasn’t a lot of gore, the gorehound inside of me felt pretty satisfied given the fact that I really wasn’t expecting much of it at all in this film, regardless of the advertised subject matter.

There was also a very fun, darkly comical scene near the end of the movie that was probably my favorite part of the film. In fact, it was after that scene happened where I realized that this film does sort of suffer from a personality disorder. The first act feels like it’s trying to be a social commentary; the second act, a taut suspense thriller; the third act was sort of an action movie with a few bits of dark humor thrown in. If they had just chosen one of those to focus on for the whole film, I think it could’ve ended up as a far better movie. I do think the film is worth seeing, but perhaps not at full price. I would say it’s worth a matinee price or wait for home video.


Evil Dead

Thus follows the ramblings of a gore hound who has seen the Evil Dead remake, written and directed by Fede Alvarez, twice. Said gore hound (i.e. me) was disappointed to hear, perhaps a couple years ago, that plans were underway to remake one of his favorite horror films of all time; not Army of Darkness, but the original Evil Dead. But of course, once he saw the Red Band trailer, he was quite pleased and expected to be thrilled and entertained by buckets of blood and gore.

And boy did he get it. ^_^

Our story starts typically enough, with a group of younger people, friends, all meeting up at a cabin in the woods.

So far so good. Bwa-ha-ha-haaaa…

These friends are here to help Mia (Jane Levy) quit drugs. So she flushes them down the well and all should be right with the world. But then Mia is freaking out about a terrible smell and they discover the cellar and there’s all sorts of gross things down there like dead animals and stuff.

So awesome.

Anyway, there’s also a book. And one of the friends is a nerd science teacher and opens the book and reads from it because he’s a dumbass science teacher and opens the gates of hell (not literally) and then Mia is possessed and starts doing bad things to herself and her friends and then it rains blood (literally) and more cool stuff happens and then it’s over.

So awesome! ^_^

Hard to explain how awesome this movie is without spoiling the whole thing, but trust me, it is awesome. There is a ton of blood and gore. I personally didn’t think it was scary, but others may disagree. There’s definitely some parts that will make you jump out of your seat, those types of things. But as far as real scares go, I really don’t think it’s that scary. *shrug*

Now, that being said, I fully expect to like the director’s cut more. After all, their initial submission to the MPAA landed them an NC-17 rating, so they clearly had to cut something somewhere. I have no idea where considering how bloody and gory this film is. But I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what it is.

One slight issue I had with the film is how funny it is at times. This is supposed to be a remake of the original Evil Dead, which was not funny. In fact, it originally received an X rating, which they then released Unrated. There were no characters who spoke sarcastically or sardonically. So, perhaps they were trying to put a bit of Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn into it for comic relief because the filmmaker (or the studio) thought it was just too violent and scary. Perhaps they chose wisely because both audiences I saw the film with (one of which was predominantly college students) really ate it up. And, frankly, I’m embarrassed to say, so did I.

I am hearing some complaints from other movie reviews that a lot of the film is cliché and the typical “cabin in the woods” type of things happen in it. Well, yeah, where do you think a lot of those clichés started? They started with the original Evil Dead, of which this film is a remake. So of course there will be things you have seen before. But this is definitely a different take on the original source material and definitely a film well worth watching in a theater with friends. So go see it now. You will thank me later.