‘The Purge’ Trailer: One Night a Year, Nothing Is Illegal

Published 1 year ago by , Updated March 16th, 2014 at 2:19 pm,

The thin line between utopia and dystopia is a favorite subject of moviemaking. In The Purge, a future United States exists in a state of economic prosperity and civil peace, but at a price: for one twelve-hour period per year, emergency services are suspended, hospitals close down, and all crime is legal – even murder. One upper-class family plans to ride out the night of The Purge from behind their armored doors and windows. However, a single impulsive act of charity exposes them to a night of chaos and bloodshed.

The Purge is written and directed by James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13). The film stars Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight) and Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). The cast also includes Edwin Hodge (Cougar Town), Max Burkholder (Parenthood), and Tony Oller (Beneath the Darkness).

You can check out the poster for The Purge below:

CLICK FOR FULL SIZE The Purge Poster 280x170 The Purge Trailer: One Night a Year, Nothing Is Illegal

Though it frontloads a little bit too much detail about the film, the preview for The Purge is genuinely compelling and exciting. With a premise that could easily fall into eye-rolling ridiculousness, it’s refreshing that the movie seems to take its time setting up the idea of a single lawless night as plausible.

That said, it’s difficult to discern whether The Purge will actually make good use of its interesting setting. The actual action of the film looks more than a little familiar – harkening to home-invasion thrillers like The Strangers and Funny Games. Hopefully, The Purge will embrace the potential of its premise and expand beyond the standard template for such movies.

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The Purge will invade theaters on May 31st, 2013.

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  1. This sounds dreamed up out of the mind of a privileged guy; Thisidea that the only reason to commit crime is based on repressed impulses. Who commits crime? Extremists, anarchists (who would reject a regulated crime purge), some mentally ill (not most) and disturbed people, people who commit crime for survival, etc. One common factor here is probably impulsivity and another common thread to some of these is desperation. This whole idea is built on some classical psychoanalytic theory of hydraulic humans who can exercise control and restraint, delay gratification, and repress urges so strong they must be expelled at some point. This movie is reflects a disturbed, bored, insensitive and sheltered mind and doesn’t make even enough sense to warrant the suspension of disbelief.

    • Reminds me of hunger games for adults and survival of the fittest as the main objective.

    • The premise of this film is so full of holes you’d think it came from Hollywood!

    • it called your goverment

  2. This sounds dreamed up out of the mind of a privileged guy; that the only reason to commit crime is based on repressed impulses. Who commits crime? Extremists, anarchists (who would reject a regulated crime purge), some mentally ill (not most) and disturbed people, people who commit crime for survival, etc. One common factor here is probably impulsivity and another common thread to some of these is desperation. This whole idea is built on some classical psychoanalytic theory of hydraulic humans who can exercise control and restraint, delay gratification, and repress urges so strong they must be expelled at some point. This movie is reflects a disturbed, bored, insensitive and sheltered mind and doesn’t make even enough sense to warrant the suspension of disbelief.

    • All of that is common sense! Of course a real life “Purge” would never be possible for those reasons. It’s a movie! Enjoy the thrill and suspense instead of dissecting the plot. Do you rant about alien invasion movies because they have a story line that is highly unlikely and is not accurate? Of course you don’t.

      • No, but there’s a difference between aliens invading earth with their high-tech, probably implausible technology when you think too much about it, and accepting a premise that crime, let alone unemployment, is low because people are allowed to commit crimes for one day of the year.

    • Guess I don’t have the faith in people that you do.
      But keep in mind, everyone thinks they’re in the right when they do these things. It could be for revenge or simply they believe they have the right to do so. And yes, I do believe they’re are people out there that would commit crimes for the fun of it.
      They’re are a lot of screwed up people in the world and I believe many would participate.

  3. This sounds dreamed up out of the mind of a privileged guy, that the only reason to commit crime is based on repressed impulses. Who commits crime? Extremists, anarchists (who would reject a regulated crime purge), some mentally ill (not most) and disturbed people, people who commit crime for survival, etc. One common factor here is probably impulsivity and another common thread to some of these is desperation. This whole idea is built on some classical psychoanalytic theory of hydraulic humans who can exercise control and restraint, delay gratification, and repress urges so strong they must be expelled at some point. This movie is reflects a disturbed, bored, insensitive and sheltered mind and doesn’t make even enough sense to warrant the suspension of disbelief.

    • I imagine a world where having a year to make a list of people who deserve to die intriguing. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t have your own list. Maybe the drunk driver who killed a relative or the gangbanger down the street selling dope to kids. The ones who kill randomly and senselessly would definitely be some of the first to go. I can see society becoming much more honest, polite and caring when you know everyone else is making list of their own. With more than half the people in our country on the public dole and that number rising every day, I can see something like this happening in our lifetime.

  4. This sounds dreamed up out of the mind of a privileged guy, that the only reason to commit crime is based on repressed impulses. Who commits crime? Extremists, anarchists, some mentally ill (not most) and disturbed people, people who commit crime for survival, etc. One common factor here is probably impulsivity and another common thread to some of these is desperation. This whole idea is built on some classical psychoanalytic theory of hydraulic humans who can exercise control and restraint, delay gratification, and repress urges so strong they must be expelled at some point. This movie is reflects a disturbed, bored, insensitive and sheltered mind and doesn’t make even enough sense to warrant the suspension of disbelief.

  5. This sounds dreamed up out of the mind of a privileged guy, that the only reason to commit crime is based on repressed impulses. Who commits crime? Extremists, anarchists, some mentally ill (not most) and disturbed people, people who commit crime for survival, etc. In common, impulsivity and another common thread to some of these is desperation. This idea reflects classical psychoanalytic theory of hydraulic psyches that can exercise control and restraint, delay gratification, and repress urges so strong they must be expelled at some point. This movie is reflects a disturbed, bored, insensitive and sheltered mind and doesn’t make even enough sense to warrant the suspension of disbelief.

  6. LAWL Everyone is complaining this isn’t based on reality. Oh my! You mean it wouldn’t go down like this ? This wouldn’t make sense in real life !?! Gee I’m sure the writer never thought of that.. lol

    Who gives a …. You all give me the giggles. o.O

    • Exactly! Like calm down….stop over analyzing what has potential to be a great film. Movie critics aren’t even considering all of the elements that make a good movie anymore….they just focus on the irrelevant details and base their opinions around that.

  7. Hmmm…
    I realize this is a dead thread but I’ve just seen the preview and I think the premise is interesting but I wonder if this will be another entry in the storied line of films with a strong premise but fails to either live up to or stick to what it sets out to do?
    Obviously, seriously, obviously you have to suspend disbelief. If you’re not willing to do so there’s no point in watching. I’m not saying you should do so blindly and that if you’re willing to do so you shouldn’t see a films flaws but with a movie like this if you go into it wanting to rip it apart you’ll probably be able to do so quite easily.
    So if the time comes and I’m looking to kill a couple of hours I’ll give this a shot but if I’m looking for movie that wants to seriously explore social and political issues I’ll watch something else.

  8. Given what little I know of the plot and premise, I would probably conclude that the government uses the 12 hours of anarchy to break the law themselves, being allowed to get rid of criminals and let the ones who go seeking crime to sleigh one another in their idiocy. The surviving families have no interest in illegal activity and find ways to protect their loved ones by building a fortress. It is no mystery why the government has use for these people. Just a wild guess.

  9. It’s not so much about making sense. Films don’t have to make sense. But it’s not a comedy. It’s supposed to be a horror. Any good horror film, plays on reality.

    The premise is so far removed from reality that it is more akin to a comedy.

    Crime is not transitory. The links the film tries to make to allow any crime to be committed are far too big a leap. If the film makers wanted an no holds barred crimeathon. Then the premise behind the TV show Revolution would have been much better.

    It was the same when I watch the first saw film. It was a great premise up until the last 60 seconds. Up until that point the possibility made the horror all the more gripping. When you step away from reality it loses it’s impact. Even fantasy horror such as vampire, zombie movies work as they stick to a set of rules, for the fantasy characters. You would have to take this off planet to make it work with a race of people who do not have emotions. That way, when you watch your sister being raped one night, the lack of emotion would not carry over to the next.

    • If you try to make too much sense of the logic of that world, you’re not going to get far. I mean, all these points could eliminated with one question: if they’re so rich, why didn’t they just go to Cabo for the weekend and avoid the Purge all together? But grounding this horror in reality in terms of its plot points isn’t necessary to reach the more horrifying that is all too grounded in our present reality. That is this: in America’s present society, we do accept that violence is acceptable at certain times and under certain circumstances. When you realize that the film takes our modern American values and places them in a fictional environment that’s very close to home, that’s when the terror really sinks in.

      For all that our national leaders, whom we elect, may speak of religious or spiritual virtues or honoring past heroes or other nationalist speeches that invoke some kind of humanist basis, our actions fall short of our ideals because we tolerate the terrible things that they either do or command to be done and refuse to stop.

  10. This idea was lifted straight from an old Star Trek episode. The episode was not very good, and as a movie premise it is down right asinine. Clearly they are of the body. Praise Landrew.

    • Actually, it reminds me of a story written in 1948 and turned into a play. Its called “The Lottery”; an exploration of the mob mentality.

      • Saw it at a free screening. It’s exactly the Lottery meets the Strangers or Funny Games.

  11. This sounds a lot like an episode of the old Star Trek series in the early 60s called ‘the return of the Archons’ where one night a year it’s ‘festival’ and everything is legal. Maybe they should have checked with Gene Roddenberry.

    • Except that Roddenberry died 22 years ago. His wife Majel Barrett (who played Nurse/Dr. Chapel) died 5 years ago. Maybe their son might have something to say about this.

    • THANKS! As soon as I heard about this movie, I thought “That sounds like an episode of the old Star Trek.” I have been wracking my brains and searching the internet trying to find the name of the episode.

  12. SPOILER ALERT

    I saw the movie at the premier in Los Angeles on June 3rd. I have alot to say, but I’ll keep this introductory comment brief. Many of my thoughts about the film were influenced by a Q&A with one of the film’s producers and the star of the film, the fantastic Lena Headey.

    I would like to think that giving this movie deeper thought would prove to be a rewarding exercise. After all, the mere premise of the story is controversial and thought-provoking, as well as timely. In an age where we lionize long-deceased public figures who advocated non-violence and attempted to instill inside us a sense of peace (i.e., Martin Luther King, Jr.), Americans still find ourselves living in a world where we tolerate, at least begrudgingly, the use of violence in particular situations, by certain people, under the right circumstances.

    That is exactly what The Purge is. In fact, in France, the title of the movie translates into “America’s Nightmare.” Why is it a nightmare? When we are confronted with the truth about our values and they’re presented to us honestly, we recognize that they are fundamentally inhuman. In fact, they directly contradict the values we cherish in some of our greatest heroes (MLK, Ghandi, Mandela, and the favorite of the American puritan tradition: the great JC). It’s more than a mere coincidence then that the film begins with a pledge of allegiance that acknowledges a new set of founding fathers who made this way of life acceptable in the year 2022.

    Yet, from what I’ve read, I don’t get the sense that the filmmakers really attempted to shape this world outside of the narrow confines of the camera lens. I so desperately yearn to dive into this space and think more about it, but I really do think a lot of talented people got together and just wanted to make this one movie, in this one neighborhood, about this one set of people.

    So that leads me to Henry and then I’ll say nothing more. Remember Henry? [SPOILER ALERT] Henry was the daughter’s boyfriend. The father forbids her to see the boy any longer, so what does he decide to do? Naturally, he hides in the armored house during the night of The Purge. Henry tells the daughter that he’s going to talk to her father about their relationship. During the only 12-hour period of the year when all crime is legal, this sounds like a great idea–if you have a death wish. When the daughter confronts Henry about his ill-conceived plan, Henry says, “Don’t worry, everything will be okay.” At which point everyone in the theater laughs because everything most certainly will not be okay.

    And, how do we know that? Because when Henry opens the discussion with his girlfriend’s father, he decides to let his gun do the opening remarks. More than that, he decides that it would be perfectly acceptable and not at all traumatizing to his girlfriend, to attack her father in front of her mother and little brother, who is likely low-spectrum aspberger’s because who else but a futuristic male version of Lydia Deetz lets a stranger in their home during The Purge?

    Nevertheless, Henry’s folly is his downfall because the girl’s dad has a bigger gun, a better eye, and faster trigger finger. And then Henry dies. He just dies. That’s it. He is barely mourned. No one comes seeking vengeance for him. We kind of don’t like him to begin with because he wouldn’t tell his girlfriend that he loved her when she said it to him first, leading us to believe that he’s more Casanova than Romeo. He literally just dies.

    So what was the point? I’d like to think he’s a symbol of what this world looks like on the 364 days of the year when the purge doesn’t happen. Think about it. His plan makes no sense. He thinks the girlfriend’s father is standing in between him and the teenage girl to whom he won’t even say “I love you.” So, the ONLY logical way out, according to Henry, is to kill him in front of his wife and children, giving no apparent thought to the consequences of such a plan. This is not the thought-process of a sane person. This is Amy Fischer.

    Which sort of explains what life is probably like for Purge America the rest of the year. Most people in 2022 America have to be looney tunes crazy. They sit in their cubicles, behind their cash registers, or strapped to their desks plotting all year round that on one particular day and time they are going to do something(s) truly evil. They aren’t purging anything from themselves on that one day. Instead, they’re cultivating all year long the crazy in themselves that they’re going to activate on the day in question. You have to be literally insane for the rest of the year to even be willing to participate in (and survive) the annual Purge.

    So that explains Henry: his actions don’t make sense at all until you take into account that he has a mental disorder. As a result, his conduct and thought processes are disjointed from our concept of problem-solving and reality. It’s fitting then that his death seems out of place in the movie’s storyline. But the fact that it doesn’t make sense is exactly the point. As a symbol for the average American in 2022, he doesn’t make sense either.

    Or else that’s what I would think if I believed the filmmakers gave greater concern to world-building, which I don’t. So, chock it up to nihilism or a need for a body count quota.

  13. It is pretty intimidating when the first few posts (after the first few identical posts–not those) pretty much put the kibosh on “analyzing the movie premise” or taking it too seriously. Stop LYFAO at me! (sniff)

    I’m going back to reading Acid Row, where the neighborhood’s bad building plans, the relocation of some Registered sex offenders, bad parenting, ignorance, teenagers with brilliantly constructed (albeit meth and acid-induced) plans involving gas rags and glass bottles, and the flawed social system creates the perfect storm for this circus of violence and the crushing reality of what happens when the right information gets into the wrong hands.

    The vernacular totally threw me until I lost the book and (THANK GOD) found the audiobook, in which the thick Brit accents made it a lot clearer.

    Don’t bash me for straying from the original topics please, mates. Just comparing one story with another. The premise is basically the same. The latter just doesn’t suck.

  14. I can not believe other viewers are not appalled at this movie. I am upset and bothered by the concept of a movie that hits so close to home. The amount of money spent glamorizing human beings taking advantage of an opportunity for 12 hours to kill, rape, rob or other violent crimes could be spent on doing good in the world. I may be living in a fantasy world but I know others must feel the same way I do. I spend my energy doing good for others and seeking ways to make this a place our children can grow up safe and happy. The comments made above are upsetting and I felt the need to post a reply that makes me feel that maybe we have a chance to make a difference. I am appalled that a movie was even made on this subject matter, we are desensitized from all the violence we see on TV and need to get back to the great things happening in our country and the heros that fight for us every day.

    • This by far is the best reply ever! I totally agree!

    • You wanna talk appalling? How about the Machete films. All they do is say all whites are rich and illegals have every right to rip them off. The Purge is merely an idea where Machete is really a racist film.

      • Who said those films AREN’T appalling? Of course they are…which is why I never watch these kinds of films in the first place. (And if you’re asking yourself, “Then what is this person doing commenting in this thread?” Well, here’s your answer: I never heard of this Ethan Hawke movie before, so I Googled and came in here to read more about it. Yep, I’ve seen and read enough in this article — I’m definitely not seeing “The Purge”.)

  15. It’s something to think about …that we hope this things will not happen at all, we still value human lives,,and crime is not a solution of everything….

  16. What is the day of the Purdge in the movie. I saw the movie but I dont remember the day.

    • march 21st. God I’d hate to think that on that day in 2014 we have more crime. Better tighten security.

  17. So, an armored house that withstand one day of abuse every year can’t handle this time because they let someone in? Hard to believe.

  18. This is exactly why I question what sort of world we live in, all people saying it’s just a movie fair enough, but surely there’s better things to make movies about than something as appalling as this, my personal opinion is that it should never be released and should be banned, a movie where murder, rape, any crime is legal for a certain time is utterly disgusting, what about people who have actually been through one of those experiences, and it will affect the real world since there’s so many sick people about these days, E.G apparently a Facebook purge was going on where people could post anything about someone, wether it be secrets or embarrassing things and you couldn’t do anything, and if anyone wants to say I’m boring or take it too seriously then that’s your view, but I for one have something called respect, if you commit a crime such as one in this film you should do your time and not commit it in the first place, this film basically tries to say for one night it’s all okay, it’s as bad as mischievous night

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