The Purge

The Purge Anarcy 01

In 2013, The Purge introduced us to the whimsical concept of a United States of America with one day every March when anarchy reigns. It’s a respectful, ordered anarchy — don’t get that wrong — where these blessed citizens can take out their frustrations with each other and their society in a government-sanctioned 24 hours of murder and mayhem. All crime, no matter how small or how massively atrocious, is legal and encouraged. There’s really no time like springtime. The film ends with the valuable lesson that maybe you should keep an eye on your impressionable, emotional children during Purge night and at least switch the security system code on them before things start getting out of hand (boundaries, kids — listen to your parents). Then came a second film, The Purge: Anarchy, with the terrors and thrills of the holiday continuing. And now, since our intrepid citizens of the near-future have just a blast on that second Purge night, it makes perfect sense that a third installment is in development. The Purge 3? The Purg3? Let’s go with that.

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the purge

Waking up in today’s world has become more and more depressing. Even before I roll out of bed, I will usually grab my phone and settle into a morning routine of checking email and social media. Unfortunately, the latter has become less about socially interacting and more about sharing awful stories of the human condition. Before I manage to brush my teeth, I’m bombarded with news stories and links about terrible things that people do to each other. My Facebook feed is quickly becoming a giant international police blotter. With all the injustices in the world going on, it makes me wonder if there’s something we could do about it. I recently re-watched The Purge and also saw its sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, this past summer. Aside from there being 12 hours of hell to deal with once a year, the series’ titular event — an annual night of anything goes — seemed to be working for the people in the movies. That got me thinking: with crime seemingly spiraling out of control, would a real-life Purge really work?

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The Purge Anarchy

Watching gruesome scenes over and over seems like a symptom for someone battling serious demons, but when you’re the composer on a horror film, this practice is just part of the job. Nathan Whitehead returns to The Purge series with a brand new score full of the tension cues you’d expect, yet he’s also included enough unexpected musical elements to keep your ears guessing throughout The Purge: Anarchy. Unlike the first movie, Anarchy takes audiences out of the confines of a single home to go out into the streets and explore what it really means when laws are lifted and chaos is allowed to reign supreme. I spoke with Whitehead last year about his score for The Purge, and he explained that the hybrid nature of the film as both horror and thriller “really steered the music into these grittier textures and more processed sounds,” whereas with his score for Anarchy he looked to “explore the action moments more.” “But there are also opportunities to explore more emotion,” he said when I talked to him again about scoring the sequel. Now that the series is moving further into the fray, the violence is sure to get amplified as the story goes from cat-and-mouse to all-out nihilism. I wondered about the psyche of someone tasked with having to watch these scenes repeatedly to get all the elements right. How does that weigh on a person? The short answer: perspective helps.

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The Purge: Anarchy

America. Land of the free, home of the brave, good country for crime. At least, that’s the angle that this summer’s hotly anticipated horror sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, is going for in its latest trailer. The next film from creator James DeMonaco takes us still further down the crime-ridden rabbit hole he first presented to us with last year’s The Purge, a cinematic universe that imagines that all crime (even murder, as some kind of super-happy announcer-lady declares in a tone of voice that’s definitely more chipper than it should be) is legal for a single, terrifying twelve-hour period every year. Time to move to Canada. Bye, guys! The Purge itself appears to be a wholly American creation, one launched to help citizens let off steam in the most demented of manners. It’s presented to its citizens as a good thing (along with its apparently unwritten rule to never, ever help anyone else out ever ever ever, because nothing says “USA” like not given a crap about your neighbor), but it’s pretty obviously a totally insane and evil thing, and it sure makes fake future America seem like the kind of place that’s not even worth the scant visit. Still, you know what’s really American? A hero — one like Frank Grillo, whose starring role in the film should pretty cleanly seal up his bid for cinema’s next “tough guy with a heart of gold” slot. Check out the latest trailer for The Purge: Anarchy, and be happy this premise isn’t true (well, yet):

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The Purge: Breakout

Back when the original The Last House on the Left was in theaters, the ads shared a common theme: “To avoid fainting, keep repeating, ‘It’s only a movie… it’s only a movie… it’s only a movie…’” Sound advice. Because a movie can’t actually kill you, unless it’s kind of scary and you have heart problems, or unless it’s kind of Avatar and you’d rather end it all than live in a world where you can’t kiss your ten-foot-tall cat-girlfriend on the mouth. But what if it wasn’t just a movie? What if there was a way to take something from the silver screen and make it something you can actually live? That’s the idea behind The Purge: Breakout. Because you see, there was a The Purge movie last year. And there will be a The Purge movie this year: The Purge: Anarchy (in theaters July 18th!). But there are people for whom waiting an entire year for a sequel to their new favorite anarcho-horror slasher film is unacceptable; and it’s those people who will probably be taking part in this new The Purge-themed interactive experience.

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The Purge

Plenty of entertainment news happened over the weekend while you were girding your loins for a very special season finale of Game of Thrones (or going outside like a normal person, perhaps). We’ve rounded a bunch of it up into a neat little news package we call our afternoon Biz Break. 

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purge questions

Those who have seen the trailer for The Purge, or the film itself, know this is not your normal brand of horror film. The Purge is certainly ful of jump scares and villains out for blood, but it takes that standard idea of horror one step further by infusing the narrative with bigger questions about society and human nature. This is not your typical story of people being pursued and not knowing why. The characters in The Purge know exactly what is out there, but the fear here is they thought they were armed against it, and what is even more unsettling is the realization that the true terror may exist outside of this single night. Life in The Purge is an almost Pleasantville-like world where crime is down, employment is up, and the general population seems content and happy – and there is a very distinct reason for this. For one night, every year, the entire population is allowed to “purge” themselves and give in to any evil or violent tendencies they may have been suppressing in favor of such a well mannered society. But The Purge gives audiences more than just a series of scares, it presents a variety of different questions, both directly and indirectly, throughout the film, but it does not offer many answers. It is not unusual for a horror film to leave audiences with an open ending, but the questions The Purge leaves open are ripe for discussion long after the credits roll. The following contains spoilers for […]

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review purge mullen

As with most things in life, there are good trailers and there are bad trailers. Bad trailers may lay out the entire film third act or not do a good job of selling you on the film, while a good trailer often teases just the right amount of a story to get you hooked and ready for more. The trailer for The Purge fell pretty firmly in the good category, explaining the outlandish future-set premise and teasing a home invasion storyline. It was up to the film to deliver on the promise of a fun, entertaining film, but unlike the trailer before it, it didn’t do a great job. The premise is certainly interesting. Set in 2022, America is “a nation reborn,” words you will hear throughout the film. Unemployment and crime are at all time lows thanks to a new government program called the Purge. For one night a year, from 7pm to 7am the next morning, all crime is legal. Police, fire and emergency medical services are suspended during this time and anything goes. For James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) and his family, the Purge has been a pathway to prosperity. James makes a shit-ton of money selling fancy, very secure looking security systems to wealthy homeowners (including many of his neighbors) to protect themselves during the annual Purge. His wife Mary (Lena Headey) is nice enough but seems to have a little more edge than the typical soccer mom, though perhaps that’s Headey and her history of playing […]

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dunes

Thus far, Platinum Dunes hasn’t made movies for everyone. “Everyone,” of course, meaning a fair chunk of the online film community. Producer Brad Fuller – who started the company with Andrew Form and Michael Bay around 10 years ago — is well aware of the lashings he and his partners have taken. Remaking a horror classic is going to lose certain audience members from the start, but some of Platinum Dunes’ work has been met with downright hate. However, some of that hate comes from an insular community, as proven by the box-office numbers A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Friday the 13th delivered. They were R-rated horror hits that Fuller has been having a difficult time making since Elm Street. This is what led him to teaming up with producer Jason Blum and making the high-concept thriller The Purge. The home invasion pic was made for two million dollars which is a low budget that Fuller and his partners aren’t exactly used to. The Purge represents a new direction for Platinum Dunes. Fuller made the time to tell us about where the company is going and why it had to go there:

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blum

Blumhouse productions has been making quite a go at the box-office over the past few years. “Quite a go” may actually be an understatement, considering they’re pulling in big numbers for very non-tentpole releases. After the success of Paranormal Activity, producer Jason Blum has been making a lot of bang for his buck. With Insidious and the Activity franchise, Blum has cornered the market on low budget horror movies aimed at a broad audience. His newest project, The Purge, is hoping to follow in those films’s footsteps. The high-concept siege movie was made for a mere three million dollars, which isn’t even close to the budget of the fellow wide releases we’re seeing this summer. Even if the movie doesn’t strike gold, expect a profit and more movies like it from Blumhouse. Not a bad model by any standard. Here’s what The Purge producer Jason Blum had to say about that business plan and finding creativity within it.

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people_festival_3

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. I’m taking a couple liberties with this week’s Short Starts. For one thing, the video I’m sharing is not a short film, although it’s one of the original Star Trek episodes that has that one-off feeling of being based on a short story. The other main liberty is that this 1967 episode, “The Return of the Archons,” is not officially related in any way to the movie I’m tying it to. But many people see the plot of the new thriller The Purge as being similar to that of “Archons.” As the imaginary judge inside my brain said in response to the idea, “I’ll allow it.” The sci-fi concept of The Purge is that in ten years time the U.S. has developed a bonkers strategy for dealing with crime. One day each year Americans are allowed to commit any crime they like without consequence, and their victims are allotted no help of any kind. Illogically, the existence of this “purge” has drastically reduced the crime rate for the rest of the year. In this Star Trek story, the Enterprise crew visit a planet in which there is constant peace except during the “Red Hour” of a Festival period, when citizens are given free will and allowed to be as bad as they wish. The episode is said to be inspired by Philip Jose Farmer’s novel “Night of […]

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NW_3984-LoRes

We all have those moments whether we are stuck in traffic or at the end of an un-moving line at the airport/post office/DMV where you just want to lash out at everyone around you. It’s human nature. But would the world really be a better place if we were allowed to give in to those momentary impulses rather than keeping our emotions in check? The Purge is a new kind of horror film that not only indulges in the expected slasher terror as a home is overtaken by a group of sociopathic “purgers” hoping to get some release, but goes one step further and becomes a comment on our society and how allowing this kind of controlled “Darwinism” would come down to those lucky enough to have wealth and protection versus those who do not. The strongest are not necessarily the ones who would survive and at the root of The Purge is this question of what happens when those who are easy to “pick off” because they cannot afford a fortress to hide behind are eliminated and only the rich remain? I spoke with the film’s composer, Nathan Whitehead, about his thoughts on the film’s unusual concept, how that inspired his score, and whether he thought silence could be scarier than sound.

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review purge

When is a good old-fashioned home invasion movie not a good old-fashioned home invasion movie? When it sets itself in the near future and forgets to be all that good. Welcome to The Purge. It’s 2022, and the United States has finally solved its growing problem with violence and crime by making it legal. More precisely, it’s legal for a twelve hour period one night per year. Citizens are encouraged to stay safe in their secure homes, unless of course they care to vent their animalistic rage and partake in the annual event. The Sandin family feels safe behind their state of the art security shutters, but when their dumbass son has a crisis of conscience and lets an injured man in, all hell breaks loose.

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Iron Man 3

Harmony Korine and friends already gave us a taste of sand, sun and heavy weaponry, but it doesn’t quite feel like summer yet. Maybe that’s because global warming is making everything so cool or because President Obama keeps delaying all of our vacation planes, but the hugeness of the season still hasn’t fully descended. That’ll change this weekend when Iron Man 3 drops an arc reactor into theaters. Then, the parade of unbelievably massive summer movies commences with buddy cops, mischievous teens, people probably named Khan, bald Matt Damons, super men, and the end of the world itself in tow. It’s a tight race this year. Optimism runs high, and the next few months are packed full with studios and indie outfits hoping to entertain and score big, so the task of naming the 13 most-anticipated summer movies was a tough one. So instead of hurting our brains over it, we let math do the work by putting the question to the whole staff and tallying up the results. It’s a slightly eclectic mix, displaying the powerful potential of cinematic storytelling to bring us into the cool, dark room with a single light source. As luck would have it, we found a fittingly seasonal place to start:

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news stanley film fest

I’m on record as saying that there seem to be too many damn movie festivals these days, and that’s coming from someone who loves movie festivals. Mainstays like Sundance and SXSW co-exist alongside smaller, local fests in just about every city in America, and there’s barely a week in the calendar year without one or the other. They’ve become more ubiquitous than unique, and you’d think I would be the last person to celebrate yet another one being added to the mix. But here I am. Celebrating. The Stanley Film Fest is brand new this year, and it immediately gets right what so many others get wrong. Location. The horror film fest takes place entirely at the historic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, CO, which in addition to being a beautiful yet creepy locale is also the hotel that inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Their inaugural fest promises to be a fantastically fun affair complete with parties, a horror-themed brunch, a ghost tour and more. Of course the most important element of a film fest is the film selection, and this one is no slouch. The opening and closing night films are Ethan Hawke’s new thriller The Purge and the Eli Roth vehicle Aftershock, respectively. In between are a lively mix of hotly anticipated follow ups from the directors of Rabies, Dead Snow and The Midnight Meat Train, thrilling changes of pace from Mark Duplass and Elijah Wood, a long overdue big screen showing of All the Boys Love Mandy […]

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