Great disc for a film that doesn't deserve it; such wasted potential
The Purge Blu-ray Review
America. 2022. Unemployment is at 1%. Crime is at an all-time low. Violence barely exists. With one exception...
The Purge has a great sci-fi premise, brimming with potential to explore the incendiary topics of morality, class battles and basically, the revealing of true colours. One night a year people get to actually follow their feelings, embrace their inner demons and act out their every visceral desire. With no fear of repercussion, and, in fact the support of the state – who feel that it is cathartic – imagine the people that you might consider paying a visit on the night of The Purge, people who, on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis you otherwise have to smile and be polite to.
Of course, the point is to look at the damage it has actually done to society; the lengths we will go to in order to protect our own, and the comparative lack of responsibility that we feel towards our neighbours – and the desensitisation towards violence (which was, perhaps, the whole point of the original Spartan teen ritual which may have somewhat inspired the premise – even though there’s also an old Star Trek Original Series episode which has a similar ‘unleashed murder’ night).
Unfortunately, after a few minutes of brief background plotting, and a smidge of character flavouring, The Purge soon devolves into bloody home invasion territory, forgetting all its potential for sociological commentary and psychological insight, and turning into more of a hack-and-slash survival flick, and one without anything new to offer whatsoever. Such wasted potential.
The Purge Blu-ray Picture and Sound QualityThe accompanying 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation is largely excellent, despite the fact that it has to contend with an almost-completely-set-at-night feature steeped in prevalent shadows. Detail remains strong almost throughout the piece, with shadow detail largely exceptional and only the briefest of moments giving way to the inky blacks, which, similarly, very briefly exhibit a hint of crush. It’s totally forgivable though, given the prevalence of the colour, and the great job that the presentation does with the challenging material – the rest of the colour scheme is well rendered, and skin tones and textures, clothing weaves and set detail is excellent. Indeed this is still a demo video presentation, in spite of the slightest of reservations.
The Purge might disappoint in terms of content, but the presentation of the material is demo-quality through and through.
The accompanying audio track is also surprisingly potent, providing some welcome shock value into the mix, its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 flavouring delivering clear and coherent dialogue throughout, whilst allowing for some punchy scoring, potent effects and a thunderous LFE undercurrent. Dynamics and surround usage are impressive, but perhaps not as much as that LFE punch, which is surprisingly sharp and intrusive, penetrating right to the bone – and at the least expected moments too. Atmospherics are well-observed, and the ambience is thick and palpable during some of the more tense sequences; the soundscape lovingly pieced-together.
The Purge Blu-ray ExtrasJust one unexceptional behind the scenes extra – Surviving the Night: The Making of The Purge – which, just like the film itself, all too briefly looks behind the promising premise of this disappointing piece.
Is The Purge Blu-ray Worth BuyingGreat premise; unforgivably banal delivery. The wasted potential will frustrate you beyond belief in this mindless bit of sordid slasher survivalism trussed-up in a clever sci-fi setting. And, unfortunately, no matter how good the video and audio presentations are – and they are both excellent – there’s no reason to consider blind buying this disappointing feature. Even a rental should be a cautious endeavour.
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