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James DeMonaco, 2013

Universal

What happens when you combine an every-man-for himself mentality with right-to-bear-arms mania and take it to its logical extreme? The Tea Party, yes, but also family-underfire thriller The Purge.

By the year 2020 the US government has sanctioned an annual amnesty in which all criminal activity is given free rein for one night only. Neighbour turns on neighbour as petty grievances turn bourgeois bloodbath.

In this Desperate Housewives meets Battle Royale scenario we find home security salesman Ethan Hawke, whose security is compromised only by his boyfriend-smuggling daughter and liberal-minded son. Soon they are under siege from a murderous gang led by a preppy psychopath, and dad is pressing pistols into his family’s palms: the family that slays together stays together. The film often hovers perilously close to the risible but it also has a sweaty intensity and just enough glimpses of plausibility to make it unsettling.

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