Netflix A-Z: The Purge (2013)

We’re at our P selection! I just realized that I had picked back to back 2013 horror films.  Oh well, that’s okay.  The Halloween marathon will be a lot more scattered in the choices.  Different horror subgenres and different years that it was released.  A lot of 2013 horrors got mixed reviews and they were rather lukewarm in many cases.  I guess that was what had me interested in checking our last selection, Oculus.  Honestly, The Purge wasn’t much of an intriguing option, not because its premise wasn’t good but that we don’t particularly like masked home invasions culprits. We may be the minority but The Strangers really turned us off on that however You’re Next did regain a bit of that so I was ready to give this a go especially since it did get a sequel. It must have some redeeming qualities 😉

Let’s check it out!

The Purge (2013)

The Purge

Director and writer: James DeMonaco

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Max Burkholder, Adelaide Kane, Edwin Hodge, Rhys Wakefield

In the future, a wealthy family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate during the Purge, a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized.-IMDB

 The futuristic world of The Purge is set in America 2022 and while it is a good world such as low unemployment rate and low crime rate, it gives the citizens a day to release their urge for violence.  That is assuming that our future world is full of suppressed anger. I would think that is a frightful thought that everyone needs to fulfill the urge to kill except in reality The Purge is really just a 12 hour time to “cleanse” the society which means most of the poor will be the victims.  I guess the concept does work in a twisted way and has some sort of socio-economic message being brought up.  It also does show that every society no matter how good does have a balance.  With that said, the ones who benefit from The Purge and usually are the crazies out killing would be the rich and feel it is their right to do it, making them above the poor.  I guess a theme of the vision of being wealthy is in there somewhere.

The Purge

Does The Purge work? I think that in terms of messages it does.  Also, the acting and cast are rather talented along with the atmosphere and build-up of the events.  Of course, I think its a little ridiculous of how this all started.  I’m not saying I won’t help a beat-up man but considering the circumstances of the society they live in, it shows that someone has to stand up and do something about what doesn’t seem right.  Is it believable that a boy would do it? I guess it does since maybe its the naivety of kids that can see the discomfort of having a day that illegal acts are waived of their consequences. And that humans are equal no matter how rich or poor, their status and all deserve the right to live out their lives.

The Purge

I’m a huge fan of Ethan Hawke.  I haven’t seen a lot of movies by him but whatever I’ve seen is rather impressive.  Even with the underwhelming Taking Lives that I saw ages ago and probably should revisit to see how I feel about it now.  Either way, Ethan Hawke seems like he fell off the scene for a while and now he’s back with a lot of horror.  Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey are great leads along with the main villain here, which is a crazy young guy played by Rhys Wakefield. The masked accomplices were pretty creepy with their actions and pretending to be innocence for the ladies and then they would just turn.  I found the daughter slightly annoying and the son incredibly perceptive.  Somehow, I started connecting with the characters without even knowing it especially when certain dangerous events approached and I could feel myself tense up a little and even yelped and startled a few times.

The Purge

That’s not to say that there were faults to The Purge.  While the concept is fresh about the futuristic world and it wants to be a home invasion movie, it does make some decisions that causes it to lose a little intensity.  For one, the intensity and dread of the group threatening to invade the house loses a bit of steam after they find reinforcements to come in.  Is that a spoiler? I mean, its home invasion so you know they will invade.  There were some parts that you knew would happen of how they’d enter and whatnot.  I didn’t really understand why they didn’t just bust through the front door and go in instead of everyone using multiple entry points.  Is it to cover more ground? Its not exactly a fault but you do expect some of the kills and it does turn much into a thriller that does lose steam.  We all know now that all horrors nowadays have a twist and The Purge is no different. Except it feels like the twist was a little expected and kind of destroys it in the end.  It feels so overused. I won’t talk about what the twist is because if you saw it, you’d know what I’m talking about. Its just so meaningless…

I feel like I’m nitpicking now.  The Purge is a decent thriller. At least between some good and bad, I enjoyed it.  It had a little tension and some jump scares.  I yelped a few times and liked some of the characters without even knowing about it.  There were moments I was at the edge of my seat and during this review, I started thinking a lot about the whole concept of right and wrong and the ethics and morals of the whole situation of a society in 2022 like in The Purge.  Its not great but definitely watchable and I’d probably watch it again 🙂 I guess what I’m saying is that lukewarm is where I’m at with this one.

Have you seen The Purge? What did you think about it?

**A few weeks break and Netflix A-Z resumes in November! Meanwhile enjoy the upcoming Halloween marathon!!**

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane took forever to arrive in North America.  I think it finally got its US theatrical release two years ago? I can’t remember.  Of course, it didn’t hit a lot of theatres near me or I was incredibly busy, either/or, I can’t remember.  But some blogging buddies in UK were raving about this back then so I was really intrigued by this.  It finally  hit Netflix a few months ago and I had planned on seeing it a little earlier but it didn’t make the highest votes back in October for the Halloween marathon and then I typically take months of break from horror afterwards so that’s what I did.  I have no idea what happened to me during the cruise but I started craving watching horror movies while on vacation so here we are…I have a review for Honeymoon coming up as well.

Enough rambling, let’s check this out!!!

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006)

all the boys love mandy lane

Director: Jonathan Levine

Cast: Amber Heard, Michael Welch, Anson Mount, Whitney Able, Edwin Hodge, Aaron Himelstein, Luke Grimes, Melissa Price, Adam Powell

 Mandy Lane (Amber Heard) is an orphan and the pretty teenage girl and a virgin that all the guys want but she avoids them and hangs out with the not so popular, Emmet (Michael Welch).  However, after an accident at a party, she stops talking to Emmet and befriends Red, Chloe, Marlin, Jake and Bird. When they all decide to head out to Red’s family ranch for a weekend away, they meet the ranch hand Garth (Anson Mount).  As the night progresses and the boys want to get Mandy’s attention, things start falling apart as their group starts dropping one by one.

all the boys love mandy lane

I don’t have quite the same good vibes as I’ve read about All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.  Its a little mixed.  The question I keep asking myself between finishing the movie and writing this up is: Does a really good finale make up for a not so enjoyable beginning? That’s a valid question, right? While I try to decide on how I feel, let’s take a deeper look at this.

There is no doubt that Amber Heard has a sweet and sexy look, I guess.  I have girl crushes and she’s not one of them but her role as Mandy Lane was pretty good.  She definitely was a plus in this one.  My biggest issue with All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is the fact that it exaggerates (at least I hope) the high school/teen phase stupidity.  I didn’t like any of the characters and pretty much all the deaths were well-deserved because A) stupid choices and B) asshole, jerk, douchebag, bitch component. I’m not being mean and I normally don’t have an evil heart that wishes for bad things to even the worst people.  These characters were downright annoying and the fact that it bothered my boyfriend a whole lot made it even worse because I had a whiny viewer right next to me who was complaining about the stupidity even more.  Its hard to like a movie where it works so hard to make these characters horrible and well, Mandy Lane just so sensible, in contrast?

Although, I think I’m getting the purpose of that right now as I write this. Hmmm….

all the boys love mandy lane

But, the film doesn’t trick us.  Fairly soon in this, we start seeing the plot unravel.  The first reveal is definitely no surprise and there’s even one creepy moment that might take some creepiness, even though it was expected if you watch enough teen slashers or slasher in general.  One thing, I do really like is the location itself.  The secluded ranch location might not be completely original but the way its filmed and the tone is done rather well. There is no denying that I enjoyed that aspect.

Now, the ending.  It was unexpected and if you think back, you’ll see that the questions you might have asked as to why certain characters made certain decisions suddenly seemed to piece together.  Much like, how I liked the contrast in the characters developed here, as shallow as they are and ridiculously illogical at times but isn’t that the essence of slasher flicks? While I’m talking about character development, the pacing of the movie was done pretty well also as to how they set up the whole movie to help us connect a little more with who Mandy Lane is and this girl that all the boys are obsessing over. Another aspect of slasher flicks are the kills.  While I thought there were some creative ideas here, some of them are still rather predictable.

Overall, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane comes up right down the middle for me.  On one hand, I didn’t like the characters in the beginning and it kind of made me dislike the movie.  Luckily, I made it through the first half, as the plot started revealing clues to build up to that final reveal, it started to get better and the best part of this movie was how they chose to end it.  That ending was unexpected and just out of the world good.  However, conclusion in this is that: while I didn’t dislike All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, just for an epic plot twist ending, I probably wouldn’t visit this a second time.  But, it is worth it to check out for that ending, at least once 😉

Have you seen All the Boys Love Mandy Lane? Thoughts? Did you like or dislike it?