New to Horror
An exploration into the horror genre by a non-fan
Intro: I’ve never been much of a Horror fan. When I was young, I was so scared of the Alien box art that I wouldn’t even look in its direction. But as I got olde,r I’ve dabbled and seen some, yet I’ve never committed to watching more than a few. So I decided to start this feature because I’ve always been intrigued by what horror can accomplish and how imaginative it can be. How it can play on your senses, fears and the ever popular question of ‘what would you do in that situation?’ Every week I’ll be reviewing a new horror movie. I’ll switch between a classic/older horror film and a newer/recent film. I hope you find this entertaining and I’ll try to admit to what scared me and how high my screams were.
Warning: Full The Purge Spoilers
The Purge isn’t your jump scare, slasher, or gore-porn horror, it’s about the monstrous things people can do to each other given the chance. I like three things about the film: Lena Headey, the concept, and the villains. Everything else was meh.
The concept is easy – it’s 2022 and some people called the New Founding Fathers have issued that March 21 from 7pm to 7am you can loot, vandalize, murder, and blow stuff up to your heart’s content. And this year we are following the Sandins. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is now the number one sales guy for home security systems for the purge. His son Charlie (Max Burkholder) lets in this homeless guy (without his parent’s permission!) who’s being hunted and thus brings the wrath of the hunting party down on him and his family. And you can probably guess what happens until the end, which actually surprised me. It was this very well shot and written scene out of what was a typical trapped in a house horror.
Lena Headey as Mary Sandin is the best part of this whole film. She has the emotion that the rest of the cast lacked (especially Hawke). James and Mary had no chemistry it felt like. They didn’t say I love you or really show affection in any way so it was hard to care about them together. But there were scenes where Headey just showed how she can go from one degree to burning hot in a second and it’s always a good time to watch her be a badass. Yet for most of the movie she was this terrified and believable person, given the situation.
The hunting party consists of many masked, well-educated youths who are chasing their prey that got away. All of them play the part well. There are several shots of many of them doing very disturbing yet simple things like pushing a girl in a blood spattered white dress with a huge machete on a swing while the guy stands still holding a gun to the side of this head and twisting it. Simple, yet very chilling. The leader of this band of bloody youths has a joker like mentality. He’s calm, well spoken, smiles a ton, and yet threatens, and this helps add to his unhinged menace. However, I did find myself chuckling when he used some Shakespearian language trying to put the fear of America in you.
The concept of The Purge intrigues me enough to want to watch the second film and to see if they improve upon or stumble in the same places. I will say that this movie did startle me a couple of times and it looks damn good for having a budget of $3 million. Still, I just don’t see how people can’t grab dead people’s guns. I must have said something to that effect about 6-8 times. If multiple people are trying to kill you on a night when murder is legal, you stock up like Rambo.
2 out of 5
Come back next week for another New to Horror article!