Contrived shit doesn’t get much nuttier. In the not-so distant future, a white, upper-class family plans on spending the Purge — a ‘countrywide catharsis’ where, for one 12-hour period every year, murder is decriminalized — in the safety of their steel-plated mansion. How do you go wrong with a foolproof premise such as this? Play it for limp peek-a-boo thrills, not razor-backed satire, that’s how. Writer-director James Demonaco downed the screenplays for The Hunger Games, Funny Games, and The Strangers, and two minutes later purged a clothesline on which to hang this aggressively bulimic horror film. If cinematographer Jacques Jouffret’s lens was any closer to the characters it would be behind them. You know something is wrong when for 85 minutes Tea Partiers hunt and bag Tea Partiers and still I’m not entertained! With Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, and Max Burkholder. (2013) — Scott Marks
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