October 14, 2015 Fall Frightfest

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October 14: The Purge. Rating: 1/5. Comment: The concept is that people are allowed to commit all the crimes they want without punishment for one night a year. It is set in 2022, so apparently we all need to stockpile weapons now, for impending doom is startlingly near. The movie centers around a young homeless man running for his life from a bunch of rich college yuppies; the injured military vet is saved only through the sympathy of a prepubescent boy. Things roll downhill fast (but it totally felt slow) when the murderous gang attacks the family, killing the father because he wouldn’t give them back “their prey.”

What a stupid movie. Nearly as soon as it started, I was ready for it to end. That is 85 minutes of my life that I’ll be begging for as I lay dying. The premise was completely, utterly flawed, and I will elaborate on several reasons why — ones I was thinking up while suffering through this shabby excuse for a horror film. First, there is no society in the world, past, present, or future, that would flourish with an annual “crime-spree” night, let alone America in, like, the next two years. Second, should this absurd notion ever be instituted, there would often be no possibility to determine when, precisely, a crime would have taken place. A murder might have occurred three minutes before the start of The Purge, or it might have happened seventeen minutes after the regulated “no punishment” time. Almost never can a medical examiner determine the time of death with accuracy down to the minute. Accordingly, a law like this would prevent justice from being performed; therefore, law enforcement officials, court officers, forensic scientists, civil rights activists, and military servicemen alike would lobby against it. Third, even if a law as ludicrous and dangerous as this would pass, it would not be able to reduce a person’s urge to commit crimes, as was suggested in the movie. Someone doesn’t stop being a jerk for a year after they yell at their waiter, so why would we assume a serial killer would contain his murders to only one night, particularly when the legality of such crimes would, presumably, take away part of the thrill? Criminals will commit crimes all the time, not just when it’s allowed. All The Purge would do is create more criminals, encouraging the psychopaths living within our midst to act out the fantasies they would otherwise hide. Fourth, and perhaps most offensively, this movie assumes that all Americans, Christians or otherwise, would be willing to lay down all sense of moral, ethical, religious, or personal boundaries and beliefs, just because “the government said it is good to do so.” If we really just trusted the establishment, everyone would acknowledge that climate change is dangerous, no one would ever speed, and people would admit that the focus on providing healthier lunches in schools is necessary. In real life, I truly believe that people intentionally go against what our politicians say just because it is our government is saying it. For the backstory of the movie to be believable, we must assume that all Americans agreed to the idea of living in a government-sanctioned war zone one night a year for more security and peace the rest of the time. When, pray tell, do all Americans agree on anything? No one would fear the results of their actions anymore? Not a single person would worry about retaliation for their actions by those they harmed (directly or indirectly)? Suddenly the moral compass built into every human being is busted? Now nobody fears God’s judgement, or their neighbor’s criticism, or their children’s disapproval, or their mom’s reaction? So no person is now worried about the nightmares and guilt that comes from acting in a monstrous fashion? Not one participant worries about how they will stand and look at themselves in the mirror? I find that mighty hard to believe. Apparently, everyone would just allow atrocities to unfold around them without stopping them from happening or feeling badly. This movie, which likens the future society of America to that of a lawless Nazi Germany with allowable offences to innocents similar to what people experienced during the Holocaust, was incredibly popular and made a huge profits. I am genuinely saddened by this. I am also saddened when I think back to people making jokes about wishing The Purge was a real tradition. Shame on you, Hollywood, for making me doubt the compassion and empathy of mankind.

Peace and love.

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