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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Universal - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Genre: Horror/thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Lena Heady, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge
Written & Directed by: James DeMonaco
Music by: Nathan Whitehead
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 8, 2013
"One night a year, all crime is legal"

Film Synopsis:

If you could commit any crime without consequences, what would you do? From the producer of Paranormal Activity and Sinister, comes an inventive thriller that dares you to survive the most dangerous night in America – The Purge – when all crime is legal for 12 hours. When an intruder breaks into James Sandin’s (Ethan Hawke) gated community during the yearly lockdown, he begins a sequence of events that threatens to tear a family apart.

My Take:

In The Purge, a speculative thriller that follows one family over the course of a single night, four people will be tested to see how far they will go to protect themselves when the vicious outside world breaks into their home. In an America wracked by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. The police can't be called. Hospitals suspend help. It's one night when the citizenry regulates itself without thought of punishment. On this night plagued by violence and an epidemic of crime, one family wrestles with the decision of who they will become when a stranger comes knocking. Unwittingly forced into a situation when his teenage son allows a would be victim of the purge into their home James Sandin's (Ethan Hawke) is presented with an ultimatum by those seeking the victim. Now, it is up to James, his wife, Mary (Lena Headey), and their kids to make it through the night without turning into the monsters from whom they hide.

Seemingly intended to be a thought provoking play on morality The Purge misses the mark feeling more like a weak conventional chiller. The characters are flavorless and while there are a few decent moments of suspense none prove eye opening. Darkly thematic with its social commentary/apathetic tone it’s a shame that it fails to thoroughly project its potential. At 86 minutes it moves along quickly which is fine especially based upon the shallow script. At the end of the day The Purge is an unremarkable film that fails to reach deep enough to resonate.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong disturbing violence and some language.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The Purge comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 channel Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

Video quality is quite good and delivers images that are detailed and artifact free. Resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times appears meticulously resolved. Long distant camera pans are smooth and dimensional. Blacks are stable and deep with excellent dynamic range. Contrast is well balanced and consistent and whites aren’t overdriven. The color palette doesn’t make use of bold or striking chromatic elements as red, yellow, orange and their variants are scant. It’s obvious that filtering was applied to tame/subdue color saturation in order to achieve the intended result and it works well. Flesh tones are mildly affected by this but otherwise look fine. The video has a clean pristine quality that when coupled with video’s high resolution looks great.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix does an excellent job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that where appropriate engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn’t extensive however the elements of suspense/fright provide an enriching level of immersion that couples well with the front channels. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film’s music and extended lower bass frequencies with room filling extension that strikes with palpable impact.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Surviving the night: The making of The Purge – 9 minute featurette

  • Bonus DVD

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

The Purge starts with a solid concept but abruptly descends into a one note and conventional genre entry that left me wanting. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality but comes up quite short in the supplemental department containing only a brief making of featurette. The Purge isn’t all bad and might be worth renting when you’re up for a bit of dark thematic subject matter. Keeping expectations in check may make for a better experience.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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1,708 Posts
I'm a member of another forum in which there was a thread of the worst movies of the year. The Purge is on many of the lists. The premise sounds like little more than a thin contrivance to get some action going.

311 Posts
The first half an hour of the movie was interesting but then it fell flat on its face. It was quite the let down.

3,767 Posts
I will rent this one but with a 2 star rating. I am not sure it is any good.

428 Posts
Thanks for the heads up on renting this...if anything! Originally thought the idea was much more promising... 2/5, think I'll pass!
Thanks anyway, Ralph!

13,815 Posts
It's time for the horror guys to take a look.

14. The Purge . I really enjoyed this movie. I love alternate America type movies and this is a great one. It is similar to The Strangers but much more action oriented and not as scary. The basic idea is that one night a year all crime is legal. Certain weapons are not allowed and certain, you guessed it, elected officials cannot be targeted. Otherwise good luck. It boils down to a haves versus have not conflict and lets us look under that thin veneer we call society. It reminded me of picking up old plywood and seeing roaches, worms, and various other critters scurry from the light or try to burrow down. For some reason I kept thinking about White Man's Burden while watching and may need to revisit that. I thought Ethan Hawke did a fine job as a dad and his faith in his gear and skills was just as a dad should be, unwavering. It's not perfect but still enjoyable and it was a refreshing take on home invasion. I often wonder what I would do in a situation like that and you get to see a family make those choices in this. 4.5 stars

17,113 Posts
I'm throwing in with Darth .. I liked it .. sure, Kubrick, if alive, could have done a lot more with the script, but as is, not bad .. alternate near future history .. Clockwork Orange meets Panic Room
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13,815 Posts

Originally Posted by mgkdragn  /t/1493723/the-purge-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review#post_23917723

I'm throwing in with Darth .. I liked it .. sure, Kubrick, if alive, could have done a lot more with the script, but as is, not bad .. alternate near future history .. Clockwork Orange meets Panic Room

I'd like to see a John Carpenter spin also.
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