Apparently, The Purge is a movie about the American government allowing everyone to commit any crimes they want–without repercussions–for a single 12-hour period every year, or so I’ve gathered from the trailers online. It’s such an unbelievably stupid concept for a movie that I haven’t even seen it yet, but I don’t need to do something as trivial as watch a movie to know that everyone in that universe is missing a huge opportunity to take advantage of the temporary suspension of law.
First, some things I hate about this movie I haven’t yet seen:
The advertisements in this fictional universe go to great lengths to specify that “all crime…including murder” is legal. Why do they need to specify murder? That’s what “all crime” means. If some crimes weren’t permitted, then the announcement would say “selected crimes” are legal, followed by one of those really fast-speaking ad guys rattling off all the infractions that were still illegal. I feel like you’re just adding “…including murder” for no other purpose than dramatic effect, and that’s just patronizing to all the people who already understand the rules of the game. It’s like reading “If you pass GO, collect $200” on the Community Chest and Chance cards in Monopoly every single time it comes up. Yeah, we know we get $200 if we pass GO. Stop treating us like we’re stupid and roll the dice, Greg. You already got to be the race car and built hotels on Boardwalk. Why do you insist on making every family game night unbearable?
And if this annual murder carnival has been going on long enough that people have just sort of come to accept it as routine, why do they need to keep reminding people that murder is legal in the first place? Are there people who are concerned that the powers that be will suddenly decide to rescind all felonies from the list of approved Purge activities, so they’ll be left with crimes like smoking weed and prank calling the police? Yeah, that Purge sounds way less like a horror trope and more like the plot of the third Hangover movie.
And the whole 12 hour limit creates a plot hole so big that [insert a metaphor related to large holes and things driving/going through them]. We’re all just ok with the lasting consequences of the non-killing crimes? Like, if I break into my neighbor’s house during the Purge and steal his TV, can I invite him over the next day to watch The View on the TV he used to own? Is that a jerk move? Can he take it back, or is it now legally mine? And if he steals it back after the Purge is over, did he commit a crime? Give me some rational system of post-Purge justice, here!
Now, maybe all these questions are answered in the movies, but again, I haven’t seen them and I don’t really care, because no amount of suspension of disbelief will allow me to accept that I could just jack a police cruiser during the Purge and then spend the next eleven months pulling people over when they annoy me on the highway, regardless of how awesome that would be.
Besides, all the crimes that would require going outside would be stupid to attempt because of all the legal murder we’re constantly being reminded about. I feel like most people–me included–would just hide inside until it was all over. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t take advantage of the 12-hour window, oh no. You know what I would do if the Purge were real? If it took place any day before April 14, I’d lock all my doors, power on my computer, and do my taxes.
While all the narrow-minded miscreants run about like physical manifestations of Charles Manson’s id, attempting to loot and kill and jaywalk, I’d sit comfortably at home, racking up thousands of dollars in fraudulent deductions on my 1040. I’d max out claims for charitable donations, gambling losses, self-employed business expenses, medical expenses, state taxes paid, mortgage interest paid, and any other tax credits and claims I could find.
In fact, I think I’d hardly be the only one to use the Purge less as an open invitation to loot and kill, and more as an opportunity to do all the everyday stuff the government frowns on: fishing without a license, setting off fireworks, grilling on the beach, not paying sales tax.
That should be the next installment in the franchise. The Purge: White Collar Crimes and Non-Violent Misdemeanors.
That’s a Purge I can get behind: one where I can get all my money back from the government, buy beer on Sunday before noon, and build a two-story shed in my backyard without a permit.