(On Cable TV, September 2013) I hate it when an intriguing premise ends up leading to a strictly routine result. While The Purge‘s premise is nonsensical (“Let’s allow all crime for the next 12 hours! That’ll be sure to solve some problems rather than create more!”), it’s different enough to demand attention. Unfortunately, the premise merely leads to a standard home-invasion thriller, as forced as it is dull. I suppose I should be impressed by the way the big premise leads to a single-location low-budget movie with a small cast, but the lack of connection between the vast ambitions and narrative possibilities of The Purge‘s imagined future and the ordinary thriller that it expresses. Big ideas about animalistic urges, fascist states, retribution and repercussions are hardly glanced in a script that doesn’t quite know what to do with what it has at its disposal. Execution-wise, Ethan Hawke is once again wasted in a role that could have suited a multitude of other actors, while writer/director James DeMonaco doesn’t do much better as a director than as a screenwriter: The Purge is filled with sequences that could have been quite a bit better, had there been a bigger budget or a better imagination at hand. Maybe someone will re-make it in a decade or two, and we’ll see a better take on the premise.