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The Purge: From Reel to Real

The Purge: From Reel to Real

By Pauline Nacar

As expected in The Purge movies, a lot happened in The Purge: Election Year. For a simple movie-goer like me just looking for an action-packed movie to watch, it pretty much did its job. The plot’s not that hard to grasp: for 12 continuous hours (7 7 a.m.) America legalizes any crime, including murder. This installment showed the political side more (hence the title) and the opposition against the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) that started the whole mess.

While watching the movie, I couldn’t help but recall the horrifying recent events in America (and all over the world) and pray to God that the Purge movies don’t predict the future as much as it amplifies the already twisted present state of the world. Elections are happening all around the world this year, and hopefully no one comes up with the brilliantly stupid idea to bring this movie into reality and actually legalize all crimes for 12 hours.

But what I like about them (especially the second and third) is that it doesn’t just mindlessly show the terror and horror within the 12 hours of this holiday that the NFFA proclaim “cleanses the soul;” it also shows how completely insane the whole concept is and how badly it affects the people and humanity, therefore capturing two sides of the coin.


12 hours of complete terror and thousands of human sacrifice for 364 days and 12 hours of peace may seem like a logical idea to get rid of any hatred in people’s hearts, but the Purge movies show perfectly well why it’s an idea that should never be done in real life.

If you think about it, however, with everything that’s been going on in the world recently, maybe it already is happening right under our noses. An article on Complex discusses two points in the very first Purge movie—two points that I noticed are also included in the second and third ones—that is, race and social classes, wealth or power. Noticeably, all three Purge movies feature African-American individuals as lead characters or important characters that have been victimized by the holiday. Whichever installation you watch, they are always the poor ones who either can’t afford protection or are just plainly being hunted by, well, white people. This is especially prevalent in the third movie, where the opposition is mostly composed of people of color while the New Founding Fathers of America are strikingly all white.

This concept is not at all hard to picture, especially with racism still prevalent all over the world—especially in America, where African-Americans still suffer from discrimination, physical and verbal abuse. Almost every month there’s a new hashtag with the name of an African-American individual killed by police brutality, despite the #BlackLivesMatter movement being a thing for a long while now! There have also been threats of a “police purge” that plots to “kill all police” which drove policemen into arresting non-violent Black Lives Matter protestors last July 10, resulting into even more senseless violence against people of color. Is this the Purge coming to life?

Furthermore, ABC reported last June a 19-year old man that allegedly went on a killing spree inspired by the film. The previous argument about the purge against African-Americans does not apply here, however, because his victims seem to be 100% random, according to the article. But it’s obviously bringing the terror from the screen to real life (the phrase “from reel to real” has now completely lost its kilig factor) as a witness also told the police that the suspect told her he had been “purging” by shooting and robbing random people.

Something closer to home is President Duterte giving the public the power to kill drug pushers, resulting to numerous deaths of alleged drug dealers all across the country like we’re purging drug dealers as one country, which I personally don’t agree to. Killing based on allegations, suspicions and haka-haka—it’s almost like having the freedom to kill anyone as long as we label them as “drug pushers.” Hopefully this madness ends soon, as well as crimes to just stop without the need for mass killings and purging.

It’s frightening and disgusting, knowing all these horrible things are happening in real life, and not just in horror films. If all these killings are already happening without a holiday for it all to be legal, what more if we actually dedicate 12 hours to do whatever we want to do? I honestly don’t want to know, and hopefully we’ll never have to. Hopefully “from reel to real” will just go back to being used to narrate a kilig story of a love team, and not for the Purge movies.

Image from the AV Club



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