Totalitarian states have been a staple of genre and speculative fiction for years. George Orwell’s 1984 may be the most famous since it crossed into the classics. With pressures from globalization, economics, tribalism, population growth, war, religious fundamentalism, natural resources, and so many other things, a bleak and desperate future seems inevitable. In 2013, well known screenwriter James DeMonaco adapted his latest screenplay, The Purge, to a major motion picture.
Starring Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, and Rhys Wakefield, the film takes place in the near future where once a year, the government allows an evening of violence and chaos. When the Sandlin family mistakenly lets into their home a homeless veteran, a group of purgers surround their house demanding the handing over of the man. Rather than acquiesce, they decide to defend their home and their values.
Well received and made for $3M USD, the film went on to gross $89.3M USD. A second in the franchise, The Purge: Anarchy, came out in 2014 to even better reviews and was also a box office success. Though the film was in the same “universe” as the first, the style was completely different. With the recent release of the second film to disc, Dark Discussions talks about the two films and their significance.