In the year 2017, the Unites States has become "a nation reborn" thanks to the New Founding Fathers of America. Crime and unemployment rates are hitting an all-time low due to the government having instituted an annual 12-hour period called The Purge during which all criminal activity (including murder, theft, and rape) becomes legal. The only rules during the Purge is that government officials of "ranking 10 or higher" must remain unharmed and the usage of weaponry above "Class 4" is forbidden. Also, police and emergency services are suspended during this time period. Anyone who doesn't follow the rules of the Purge will be executed. The Purge is designed to act as a catharsis for the American people so that they are allowed to vent all negative emotions and repressed urges on whomever they please.
James Sandin is a wealthy home security salesman who lives in an affluent neighborhood in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. James has made a fortune off of selling security systems, comprising of security cameras and metallic "butts," that are specifically designed for the Purge. One of the neighbors, Mrs. Grace Ferrin, tells Mary that the neighbors have been gossiping that the extension on the Sandins house was financed by the security systems which her husband had sold them.
At their heavily fortified house, Mary struggles with Zoey and Charlie. Zoey is dating an older boy, in defiance to her unapproving father, while Charlie is constantly questioning the need and relevance of the Purge. Charlie uses his little robotic video doll, which he made for a homework assignment, to spy on the family from his secret hiding place in his closet. Zoey goes to her bedroom only to find Henry waiting for her. He had sneaked back into the house right before the lockdown. He wants to talk to Zoey's father and convince him to bless their relationship. He figured that he couldn't be thrown out during the Purge. At 7:00 P.M., an emergency broadcast system message comes online warning the United States that the Purge is about to begin and that all police, fire, and emergency medical services will be shut down for the 12-hour period. Sirens begin to blare outside, signaling the start of the Purge.
The Sandins watch the Purge unfold through video monitors in the lounge. After a while, Charlie is left alone and notices a bloody stranger running outside the house pleading for help. Charlie deactivates the security system and lets him in. James intercepts the stranger and holds him at gunpoint. Henry then appears suddenly with a handgun and opens fire on James, revealing his true intentions all along were to kill James and secure his relationship with Zoey. James takes one final shot and fatally wounds Henry. During the confusion, the bloody stranger runs off into the house. Zoey takes Henry back to her room quickly and watches him die. Meanwhile, James sets off in search of the stranger and his daughter, ordering Charlie and Mary to wait in the lounge.
A group of masked criminals, led by a sadistic man in a suit known as Polite Leader approach the house looking for the stranger. They threaten to kill everyone inside unless the family surrenders the stranger, whose homelessness they claim makes him a good candidate for purging. James admits to his wife that the security system was designed to act as a deterrent, but not to withstand any number of aggressive assaults. Charlie finds the stranger and leads him to a secret hiding place. However, Zoey is held captive by the stranger after she inadvertently stumbles into his hiding place. James arrives and subdues the stranger, planning to turn him over to his pursuers outside. However, the Sandins have a change of heart after realizing they are becoming essentially no different from the Purgers outside. The Polite Leader, seemingly unsatisfied, announces that their time is up. Using chains and a truck the Purgers tear down the metal walls and enter the house, and the Sandins are forced to defend themselves.
James sees two of the murderers in the game room. He kills the first attacker by shooting her in the chest with a pump action shotgun and kills the second by throwing the killer's face down into a pinball machine, then dragging his head against the pieces of broken glass, stabbing his head. Another Purger tries to kill James but James grabs a fireaxe and throws the blade down into the murderer's back, killing him. He leaves the room but is stabbed by the Polite Leader. As Mary is about to be killed, her neighbors led by Grace and her husband come to the family's aid. Mr. and Mrs. Halverson shoot Mary's attackers and she goes in search of her family. After locating Mary, Charlie and a dying James, the Polite Leader attempts to kill them, but Zoey emerges at the door and shoots him dead. The neighbors then enter the room, having killed the remainder of the Purgers. Although Mary thanks the neighbors, they reveal that they have come to kill the Sandins as the opportunity for this patriotic duty happens to coincide with their hatred for the family's wealth.
Just as the neighbors are about to kill the family, the stranger comes to the Sandins rescue. He kills Mr. Cali with his handgun and holds the remaining neighbors at gunpoint. Deciding that too many people have already been killed, and to ensure the neighbors live with their guilt, Mary spares their lives. They sit at the kitchen table and patiently await the end of the Purge. In one last desperate act, Grace tries to grab Mary's gun, but Mary beats her face with the butt of her gun and slams her face onto the table, screaming that they all should have had enough of The Purge. After The Purge is over, the surviving neighbors and the stranger leave the house and walk away as sirens outside start blaring. The family watches emergency services vehicles arrive outside their home to carry away the murdered Purger bodies as well as James' body.
During the credits, there is audio from radio broadcasts stating that this Purge was the most successful yet due to the record high number of murders, with stock markets opening high, due to the release of aggression and sales of home defense systems and weapons. The Purge will be held again next year.
- Ethan Hawke as James Sandin
- Lena Headey as Mary Sandin
- Adelaide Kane as Zoey Sandin
- Max Burkholder as Charlie Sandin
- Edwin Hodge as Dante Bishop / Bloody Stranger
- Tony Oller as Henry
- Arija Bareikis as Grace Ferrin
- Tom Yi as Mr. Cali
- Chris Mulkey as Mr. Halverson
- Tisha French as Mrs. Halverson
- Dana Bunch as Mr. Ferrin
- Rhys Wakefield as Leader of The Freaks
- John Weselcouch as Interrupting Freak
- Alicia Vela-Bailey as Female Purger
- Aaron Kuban as Freak
- Boima Blake as Freak
- Nathan Clarkson as Freak
- Chester Lockhart as Freak
- Tyler Jaye as Freak
- Peter Gvodzas as Dr. Peter Buynak
- David Basila as George (Voice)
- Karen Strassman as Female Newscaster (Voice)
The film premiered at the Stanley Film Festival on May 2, 2013 and was released to theaters on June 7, 2013.
The Purge received mixed to negative reviews from critics
The Purge was released on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc on October 8, 2013
Main Article: The Purge: Anarchy
Despite mixed reviews, Universal and Blumhouse announced a sequel would be produced. The Purge: Anarchy was released on July 18, 2014.
The story follows several groups of people who get stuck outside in the city on the night of the annual purge. By one way or another they unite to try and survive the night together without supporting the dark holiday. On their journey to sanctuary they come face to face with bounty hunters, government-controlled purgers, and much worse.
Main Article: The Purge: Election Year
A second sequel (a third movie) was released in 2016 called "The Purge: Election Year".