Even though the critics had mixed opinions on the dystopian film The Purge audiences loved it. It had a very respectable box office take both domestically and internationally. The move did well enough and was popular enough that The Purge 2 is in development now to give audiences another chance to experience what might be part of the future.
The unique premise of The Purge is one that is frightening because it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see it becoming a reality. In The Purge the year is 2050 and the US is being run by a hard core political group similar to some of the ultra-Conservative fringe groups that exist today. As a way of curbing the high crime rate the government instituted an annual event called The Purge. The Purge lasts for 12 hours the country is allowed to descend into anarchy.
All government run protection agencies like the police and fire departments are shut down. Hospitals are also shut down. For that 12 hour period all crime is legal and will never be punished. People can rape, rob, even murder people and never face any consequences for their actions. However, anyone who goes out during The Purge intent on committing crimes may be murdered or assaulted themselves. The only rule is that people can’t use large scale weapons like explosives, bio weapons, and other military-style weapons.
The story of The Purge centers on a wealthy family in CA. The patriarch of the family designs and sells home security systems that are designed to protect people during the annual purge. Even though the family home is about as secure as it gets the family is assaulted during the Purge and needs to fight to defend themselves from strangers who are able to break through the defenses. They also need to fight off jealous neighbors who have been waiting to kill the family out of jealousy. Although the patriarch of the family does not survive The Purge the rest of the family does. The matriarch of the family, after overcoming the neighbors, deliberately does not kill them so that they will have to live next to the family and live with their guilt as a way to punish them for attacking the family.
With crime rates rising all the time, mass shootings becoming everyday events, and more and more people carrying guns and weapons it isn’t hard to imagine a world where The Purge is real. Some social scientists have wondered if something like this would actually be beneficial to society. It’s a way for people to blow off steam, settle scores, and work out their aggression for a limited period of time with the assumption that they would behave themselves the rest of the year. Would it work? It doesn’t seem likely that it would entirely wipe out crime but it might cut down on the amount of violent crime that occurs.
It’s fascinating to think about what the future holds if society continues down the path it has been going. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that something like The Purge would occur, and it might even be put on TV as entertainment. The picture of the future shown in the film is pretty bleak but it seems a lot more possible than impossible in the current cultural climate. The Purge is like Halloween taken to the extreme where people can go out and cause havoc without having to face any consequences for their actions.
Many movies and TV shows are focused on what the future of society will be but the reason why the vision of the future in The Purge is so unsettling is that people can easily see themselves in the family. The family is an affluent family just like thousands of upper middle class families around the country. The film left hundreds of people wondering how they would defend their homes and families if something like this night of consequence free crime were ever to become a reality.
The Puge 2 is coming and will no doubt be as disturbing as the first film, if not more so. Audiences are eagerly awaiting more tales of what it would be like to live through The Purge.