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The purge takes place in future world in 2022 when American govermental has sanctioned an annual 12-hour period in which any and all criminal activity-including murder-becomes legal. James Sandin is a successful salesman that sells security systems for the houses. During the purge, James seals his house and plans to watch a movie with his family. However, Charlie-son of James sees a stranger fleeing from a group that is hunting him down and he disarms the security device and lets the man in. But the leader of the group gives an ultimatum to James: if he does not deliver the man to the group, they would kill the whole family. Now James has to find where the man is hidden and decide his fate.
DeMonaco clearly hopes to make a significant moral statement on the level of Shirley Jackson's literary masterpiece The Lottery. Alas, his aim at political conservatives who support the gun lobby falls flat before he can pull the trigger.
An effective balance of mood and style, not overburdened by grotesque displays of violence but suggestive enough to create a space of believable bleakness that warrants our continued interest until the very last frame.