In 2023 the Spring equinox night is when anyone in the US can commit a crime without penalty. A man and a woman (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) drive toward a relative's house in Los Angeles to hide, but they run out of gas and flee on foot from masked men, another man (Frank Grillo) goes to the streets to seek revenge on the man who killed his son, and a mother and daughter (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul) run away after someone attacks them in their own home. Also with Michael K. Williams and Nicholas Gonzalez. Directed by James DeMonaco. [1:44]
SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man breaks into a woman's apartment and shouts that he will rape her, because it is his right to do so and he licks her face and mouth, but dies before he is able rape her (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
► A man in a diner flirts with a waitress, telling her that he'd like to kidnap her; she refuses a ride from him and on the way home two grimy men each ask her to take them to her apartment in order to protect her and she refuses. A man says that he wants a woman and her teenage daughter as special prizes. We hear that a man had an affair with his wife's sister -- and the wife kills the sister (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
► A woman kisses a man on the cheek.
► A few women in a club wear V-neck gowns and dresses that reveal slight cleavage. A woman on the street wears a moderately short skirt, revealing her thighs and lower legs in tights. A woman at home wears a close-fitting shirt that shows her legs to the lower thigh.
VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - An ailing elderly African-American man leaves a note for his daughter and granddaughter that he sold himself for $100,000 to a rich family to kill on Purge Night, and that the women should receive the money; the women cry and shout as the camera cuts to the living room of the rich murderers, draped with many sheets of plastic around the man seated in a straight-back chair; four white men and women pray, thanking America for being able to kill this man, then raise their four large machetes and the scene ends.
► A gang of masked men captures five men and women in a van, pointing rifles at them, and then sell the five people to a party of rich guests; bouncers force the five people to kneel for a prayer about killing for America and then place the people on a stage in front of a room filled with tables of rich people with glasses of champagne; an elderly woman announces that the dozen people on stage are for the last "purge" of the show that night and people bid in order to hunt these people in a large, dark room full of obstacles; bouncers push the victims into the dark room and during a fight one man kills five others -- he shoots one with an assault rifle and we see some blood, he punches a machete-wielding woman and from her point of view, slices down through her head (we do not see the wound), she begins to move and he shoots her off-screen (no blood), then shoots three more men and turns an assault rifle on a skybox full of men and women watching as an elderly woman phones for help; the lights come up, and a voice over a loudspeaker announces that the rules of the Purge were violated and the hunt must end now as bodyguards and waiters with rifles enter and begin to shoot and a small tear gas bomb is thrown in the room; a cadre of fighters with assault rifles enter, fanning out and shooting as the scene ends and someone shouts obscenities loudly, before saying "Get ready to bleed!"
► A masked assault team and gangs of shirtless tattooed men and slovenly dressed men roam the streets: The assault team on motorcycles menaces people driving close to pedestrians and cars, beating people, kidnapping them and selling them to the rich for murder games (we see some of the victims with bloody faces); a gang of tattooed men rides a bus through the streets, shooting anyone who is walking or running and many men and women fall to the street, some with blood spurting from their backs and one close-up shows two men riddled by automatic weapons fire and blood spurting out multiple wounds toward the camera and the sky; some yell about their right to kill and rape, and shoot assault rifles into the sky.
► A man in an apartment threatens to rape and kill a woman and her teenage daughter; he turns and shouts through a window about his right to do so and automatic weapons fire comes through and spurts blood through many wounds toward the camera, killing the man; two soldiers with gas masks drag the women away by the hair through hallways where light bulbs burst and spark and into a semi-truck just as another man kills four of the soldiers and shoots a man wearing a long white apron, in the face. In a family home barricaded for the Purge, two adult sisters begin to argue; one sister walks away and comes back with a handgun, shooting at her husband and sister (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details) while shattering mirrors and glass lamps amid screaming; the husband's forehead becomes bloodied and the sister falls (we hear that she is dead) as soldiers using metal saws cut down doors and enter the house as the scene ends.
► Several semi-trucks full of masked soldiers shoot people in the street and load them into the truck trailers; we see some blood spurting from several men and women. In one scene, someone has killed a dozen soldiers, who lie dead in the street and in pools of blood; one solider with a bloody face says that they were just doing their jobs before he dies. An overweight woman with a bullhorn and an assault rifle paces on a rooftop, shouting that she is a messenger ("The Left Hand of God") and has a right to kill people and five people on the street below run away with one of them shooting snipers in upper windows; a dozen snipers shoot toward the camera and the street (we do not see any one struck). A man breaks the neck of another man using a chokehold as the victim gasps and dies. Gunmen shoot people hiding in a subway tunnel and set a man on fire using a flamethrower; we hear a lot of screaming and women pick up rifles and shoot several of the gunmen, toppling a car in a cloud of smoke and tall flames and causing a loud explosion; another car drives over and crushes the head and back of a fallen man and we hear the crunch. A wounded man is riddled with bullets across his chest and abdomen during a shootout, bleeding and dying, while his girlfriend cries and screams; she says that she wants to participate in the Purge and accepts a handgun from a man, but we do not see her again. A man leaves a house as an ending siren sounds and he is shot in the side and abdomen from off-screen; he falls on his back and a soldier with a bloody gauze square on his face walks up saying that lives are to be taken, not saved, on Purge Night and the soldier prepares to shoot the man in the head; a shot from off-screen comes through the soldier's forehead toward the camera along with a fountain of blood.
► A man falls from an upper story window into the street with a loud thud. Above the door of a Wall Street brokerage house, a dead and bloody stockbroker hangs by chains on his limbs and with a sign on his chest reading that he stole pensions. A woman finds a bloody, gory body in a dumpster and screams. A man is shot in the shoulder and complains of continuing pain; another man bandages the shoulder and uses antiseptic on the wound and we later see blood seeping through the gauze while the other man has blood on his knee and says that he scraped it on a concrete platform.
► A man drives to the house of another man who is a drunk driver that he wants to kill; inside the home, he awakens the man and his wife, who shout in fear as he pulls the man from bed, slams his head on the floor and threatens him with a knife, shouting and demanding to know if the man on the floor remembers killing a young boy while drunk and the scene ends.
► A car breaks down, forcing a man and a woman to walk in the downtown area of a city on Purge Night. An armored automobile overheats and breaks down forcing the five people inside to walk through streets during the Purge, avoiding snipers and gangs; the leader tells the others to shut up several times.
► Before the Purge of 2023 begins, people board up their doors and windows, or lower heavy covers over them while people on the streets offer passersby a range of knives and guns for sale (we do not see the weapons); a masked gang menaces people on the street before the purge begins, wearing Goth makeup and masks with the word GOD and an inverted cross on their foreheads and one man swings the rotor of a large lawn mower. In a close-up in a dimly lit room, a man clad in black loads a revolver and gathers his gear (a bulletproof vest, assault rifle and a duffel bag of weaponry).
► A masked man on a skateboard slams into another man walking and laughs and his friends are shown wearing masks of skeletons or face paint that creates a huge gaping mouth and large teeth extending far into the chest area. A man and two women take a vehicle away from a rich old woman and tell her to run away; she shouts not to kill her and runs away in tiny steps.
► Three people find another man and a woman hiding in his car and they all start shouting and screaming loudly before the driver finally agrees to protect the others, if they shut up. Several small families shout and argue about how to survive Purge Night. A couple argues incessantly about whether to break up and the woman is shown to be a pushy bully that is always talking. A sweating, unshaven man argues with his ex-wife and tells her to go home to her new husband and new family. A TV announcer urges citizens to go forth and purge, especially to kill others.
► A bus on fire along its length travels a street left to right in the background. Throughout the film, off screen and on screen, we hear gunshots, automatic weapons fire, bombs exploding, shouts, screams, maniacal laughing, and ravings of a psychotic. A man in close-up repeats the phrase "release the beast" about the purge night.
► We hear that a drunk driver hit and killed a young boy walking him from school. A protest leader broadcasts on TV and occasionally hacks into local news broadcasts to warn people that the Purge is a scheme of the US Government and Corporate America to kill the lower class and the working poor. We see captions that read in 2023 America unemployment is under 5%, crime is at an all-time low and the population needs to be reduced. We hear many reports of violence during a 2022 Purge and we see footage of hundreds of people in streets at night beating others with clubs, stabbing them with knives (blood spurts), shooting them with assault rifles (no blood), and setting fires to vans and cars that ignite high flames that fill the background. We hear reports of a "successful purge" during the previous year. A disabled semi-truck features a trailer filled with monitors that have marked high-rise buildings for destruction.
► End credits include images of assault rifles, a bloody US flag with stripes made of bloody guns and knives; and bloody dollar bills.
PROFANITY 9 - About 40 F-words and its derivatives, 20 scatological terms, 7 anatomical terms, 20 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, insane, liar, bully, lunatic), stereotypical references to men, women, parents, teenagers, pacifists, politicians, greedy corporations, secret government police, armies, street gangs, the rich, the mentally ill, the aging, protesters, exclamations (shut up), 1 religious profanity (GD), 17 religious exclamations (e.g. Christ, Jesus Christ, Two prayers thanking New American Founding Fathers for allowing citizens to murder without penalty, Oh My God, Oh God, God, Jesus, Blessed Be America, God Be With Us All, I Hate This Godforsaken Holiday). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A woman goes to a washroom and swallows unknown pills with wine as a man warns the woman's friend that the woman is doing something dangerous that might kill her, and a dying grandfather argues with his daughter about his expensive medication not working but he agrees to take it later (we do not see it). Men and women drink wine at a party, and we hear that a drunk driver's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Population control, discrimination (based on race, gender, age, and economic status), crime, catharsis, greed, resistance fighters, family, duty, revenge, justice, sacrifice, survival.
MESSAGE - Humanity is violent; even the pacifists can be violent.