America, 2022. Violent crime and unemployment have been eradicated since the introduction of the annual Purge Night: a 12-hour spree of cathartic anarchy and violence during which the well-armed rich emerge from the their gated communities to vent their frustrated anger on the underclass. When the Sandin family give a black homeless veteran refuge (Edwin Hodge), the masked rich kids chasing him threaten to trespass on their home’s state-of-the-art security and wreak murderous havoc.
The Purge (Uma Noite de Crime in Portuguese), writer-director James DeMonaco’s satirical, futuristic home invasion movie, lacks the plot logic and political context needed to lend substance to its central conceit. It’s hard not to root for Ethan Hawke’s complacent home security salesman, his wife (Lena Headey) and their teenage kids. But the film’s would-be subversive ideas about the kneejerk appeal of social violence undeniably get lost in the mix.