Suspense/Thriller: A family must contend with unexpected developments as they hunker down in their secured home during a once-a-year, twelve-hour period where all crimes, including murder, are legal.
It's the year 2022 and James Sandin (ETHAN HAWKE) has made a fine living selling home security systems to all sorts of people, including his neighbor Grace (ARIJA BAREIKIS). It's a booming market, especially considering that the U.S. government and its new founding fathers have created a once-a-year, 12-hour period where all crimes, including murder, are legal. Despite the obvious potential peril of such a societal pressure relief program -- that's resulted in nearly no other crime for the rest of the year -- James and his wife, Mary (LENA HEADEY), are as calm as can be in the hours leading up to the 7 p.m. start of the Purge. But that isn't true of their kids.
Zoey (ADELAIDE KANE) is in typical defiant and perpetually perturbed teen girl mode, especially since her dad doesn't approve of her dating her now 18-year-old boyfriend, Henry (TONY OLLER). Her younger, tech-obsessed brother, Charlie (MAX BURKHOLDER), can't wrap his head around the Purge and the fact that while his parents don't participate, they condone those who do. As a result, he ends up letting a panicky and injured stranger (EDWIN HODGE) in their home, a development that James can't immediately deal with as Henry also shows up already in their house with an axe to grind with him.
As that quickly escalates into violence and James and Mary lose track of the stranger, things become even more complicated when a group of Purge participants and their leader (RHYS WAKEFIELD) show up at the front door and demand that the stranger be released back to them. If James doesn't comply, the leader states they'll breach the house's security, enter and kill him and his family along with the stranger. Torn about what to do, James tries to figure out the best course of action that will keep him and his family alive until the following morning.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might, especially if they're fans of anyone in the cast or if the premise sounds intriguing.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong disturbing violence and some language.
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