The Purge: A Realistic yet Improbable World

The movie “The Purge” is set within a single night in America during the year of 2022 where out of all the year one night is designated to uninhibited violence that includes all crimes even murder that anyone can perpetuate without any consequences. This violence lasts a total of 24 hours with no form of police or medical help available to the citizens during this time period. It is depicted that everyone supports the purge even if they do not actually carry out any forms of violence solely based on the idea portrayed to them that this one day of violence helps prevent the propagation of crime all throughout the year as supposedly it helps people release all the aggression built within them which according to them was something that was the natural state (tendency towards violence and aggression). of human beings which is also a very Hobbesian view of mankind. With this the government of America in 2022, also gives the citizens statistical facts of how less unemployment and crime rate is as a result of the purge. Similarly, the movie starts off with people actually preparing for the purge and it is mostly shown of how rich people including the Sandin family have security systems built in their houses in preparation for this day. Once the time for the purge begins, all these families get locked down within their homes while other people ravage out on the streets. While Mr. and Mrs. Sandin are seemingly fine with the purge, the Sandin children are extremely anxious for the purge as they don’t understand the need for it especially Charlie even when his parents try to explain the good behind it all. Moving on, Charlie being skeptical and worried about this event stays back within the security room while rest of the family gets back to daily chores. He is watching the roads outside of their house for any possible signs of movement or chaos when he spots a man with blood all over his body running around and shouting for help outside of their neighborhood. Seeing that man, Charlie gets worried for him and after a long internal struggle, Charlie disarms the house security system and lets the man in. This worries his parents but until they can figure out what to do, that man hides somewhere within their house. After a little while through the help of the Sandin family’s neighbors, the wealthy people purging outside figure out that the man who they were about to kill had found refuge in their house and ask for them to return him back if the Sandins did not want to face any consequences (getting killed themselves). In lieu of protecting his family, Mr. Sandin decides to return the man. Once he finds the man, after an intense struggle he ends up tying the man and is about to send him out but has an internal moral struggle aroused within him through the questioning of his family of whether he was doing the right thing. Eventually, he decides not to send the man outside and to fight back against the purgers instead. However, whilst fighting them, he loses his life. Even their own neighbors come into the house to kill the Sandin family due to the grudges they hold against them and are about to kill Mrs. Sandin when the homeless man Charlie had given refuge to, saves her. And the movie eventually ends on Mary asking all of the neighbors who are the only ones left within the Sandins house to not shed any more blood and finally the purge for that day ends.

Despite the extremely gory version of a world “The Purge” portrays, it is not only in the true sense a dystopia but something that one can deem realistic and probable. It looks realistic in the basic facts of its setting of how it’s set in America and other than this aspect of the “purge” itself, it is a typically normal depiction of the American life. And it is seemingly probable in the sense that even in remote circumstances it can somehow be imagined that someday someone might decide that this is actually an effective way of curbing the otherwise high rates of crime. However, what’s unsettling and improbable for me is the way it was normalized, and everyone accepted it. Because I would like to imagine that considering the modern day world, I don’t think a lot of people would just simply go along with it and allow it to happen in the first place, even if someone came up with this idea, instead several people would protest against it. The theme of dystopia is reflected throughout the movie not only in the aspect of its horror filled violence but mainly through the fearful existence that people have to live in even if it is for a day. The constant threat of being harmed always looms over their head as despite the security system, James admits to the fact of how security was still not completely guaranteed as the system was not totally fool proof and he lists out all the other possible ways that existed to come into their house. Even if this system provided some form of protection, most of the population outside including the poor and homeless were not safe anyway as they could not afford such security systems which made them most vulnerable to any potential attacks and although not shown within the movie, through a general idea and the homeless man that was given refuge, it seems like these people were the greatest victims of the purge and maybe that was the whole plan behind the purge to simply get rid of the people of lower classes. This brings into light another major aspect of the dystopian American world of 2022 which was how despite all the claims of government of how successful the purge was in terms of reducing unemployment down to only 1%, there still existed a major group of people like the man who took refuge in the Sandin household that were poor or like him homeless. This shows two major things of how the claims of the government did not so much match up with the reality of the situation while also the fact of how stratified and unfair the whole notion of the purge was as some people were protected especially the government officials, as mentioned in the movie, while some were without no other choice plunged into this situation to serve as a scapegoat for promoting a more “peaceful” America in the future. Furthermore, this situation also depicts no scope for reflection as it is presented to the citizens in a way with all the positive things the purge brings that they have no choice but to accept it. And with the Sandins it can be viewed especially with James and Mary with the way they were explaining why the purge was needed and all the good things that it brought which reflected that they were not so sure about it themselves so whilst convincing Charlie, it felt like they were convincing themselves about its goodness as well.

One contemporary analog related to the movie could be the great accessibility modern day people have to guns and how often it lands up in the hands of wrong people leading to terrifying events like public shootings mainly school shootings which had become almost a regular event in terms of the frequency within the past few years. Similarly, within the movie although only for one day all sorts of weapons especially guns were permissible and easily accessible to be used by people without any consequences leading to deaths of several innocent people. However, in the case of contemporary world, despite guns being easily accessible, no crime is forgiven as we have strict laws in place at all times unlike the movie.

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