It’s a shame that “The Purge” is only sub-par since the concept for it is fantastic. A new society allowing the world to murder, steal and wreak havoc for twelve hours as a means of catharses is a really good concept for a wonderful film. I imagine the scenario for the development of “The Purge” was something similar to “The Player.” A writer comes in pitching a great concept but with absolutely no story to offer the studio. So instead they just tacked on a half assed home remake of “Assault on Precinct 13” with a sanctimonious commentary on free will, and patriotism.
I recently watched “The Strangers” in theaters, and it was a thriller very heavily reminiscent of “Funny Games” in where our villains simply are. And the studios heavily marketed on the momentum from Haneke’s film to make it seem like a branch off from “Funny Games.” That’s likely because with both films our villains remain ambiguous. I never understood why we have to know the motives of our villains in horror films, these days. Why do we need to know about their life, or tragedy, and why do they need to have a theme of revenge or financial gain? Why can’t they just be psychopathic murderers who simply crossed you and seek to kill you?
The entire time I was observing the villains in Haneke’s remake of “Funny Games,” I could only ironically think back to the monologue Tim Roth gave in the opening of “Pulp Fiction.” His story about a man who robbed a bank over the phone by claiming he’d shoot a child, while the bank was never sure if there was ever actually a child was reminiscent of the two young men who could have posed a threat to the couple and their child here. There’s never an actual indication that they’re harmful in the beginning, nor is there an indication of their deadly capability until coerced with difficulty by their victims, there’s only the possibility, and sometimes that’s all people need to incite petrifying fear in a stranger.