How Well Do You Know "The Purge"?

Torrance Grey

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

With its shockingly casual killings and its pointed commentary about the class divide in America, this 2013 dystopian thriller enthralled audiences. Are you a "Purge" aficionado? Prove it now with our quiz!

How often is the Purge held?

The Purge is apparently held in March (the one that we see is March 21, 2022). The idea that this once-a-year blowing off of steam would prevent violence the other 364 days doesn't really take the causes of human violence into account -- but then, the premise isn't meant to be taken literally.

How long does the Purge last?

The Purge runs from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This might make you wonder -- do people just shower off the blood and go to work at 9 a.m? How do they greet the co-worker they unsuccessfully tried to kill the night before?

What plays over the opening credits?

The opening credits are powerful: as Debussy's "Clair de Lune" plays, we see images of random and brutal violence from all over the United States, including slain bodies lying in a row on a public street with no living people around.

In 2022, at what rate is unemployment?

An economist might say that this level of unemployment is unnecessary, and maybe even economically unhealthy. It suggests an economy in which people are unable to retire, and in which there are not enough people ready to take over domestic jobs in case of war.

What is the name of the family at the center of "The Purge"?

The parents are James and Mary Sandin. The names seem designed to evoke a suburban everyman and everywoman, except the Sandins are maybe a bit wealthier than the average suburbanite.

How many children do the Sandins have?

Zoe Sandin is about fifteen or sixteen; Charlie is a preadolescent. Protecting the children is a large part of James Sandin's motivation when he does terrible things later, when the night begins to go wrong.

What group is credited with the idea for the Purge?

Who exactly the "New Founding Fathers" were isn't made entirely clear, except that they were politicians with the power to get their program made into law.

What do people do on the day of the Purge to show their support of it?

The flowers appear to go in a cup submerged in the front lawn, akin to the ones that hold flowers at modern cemeteries. It's symbolism!

What color are the Purge flowers?

The flowers are known as "Baptisias." This is a real flower, though not common in florists's shops. And -- more symbolism! -- the baptisia is toxic.

Who is Grace?

Grace Ferrin is a heavily botoxed blonde who gives Mary cookies and proceeds to needle her about how much money James made from selling security systems to neighbors. Leading us to wonder: If Grace's cookies were poisoned, would that be legal under Purge rules, if she handed them over before 7 o'clock? The Purge must have given rise to a whole branch of new legal scholarship!

Which of these services are available on Purge night?

All emergency services are suspended, says the public service announcement that launches The Purge. These workers must be standing by, though, because as soon as 7 o'clock strikes, sirens sound and helicopters are in the air.

Who is exempt from The Purge?

It's implied that a ranking of 10 is probably the President, Supreme Court justices, and the like. Is all of the House of Representatives exempted? We doubt it -- there's 435 of them, after all!

Are property crimes legal during The Purge?

Though the movie concentrates almost entirely on murder -- The Purge is said to give people an outlet for their anger -- the PSA in the beginning says that all crime is legal. But who'd dare to be out looting stores when there are people with semi-automatic weapons on the streets who could kill you with impunity?

Who played James Sandin?

Hawke broke through in the early '90s in films like "Reality Bites" and "Before Sunrise." He is also a published novelist.

What is Mr. Sandin's line of work?

James finds out on Purge day that he is the top salesman of the year. However, there's an undercurrent to this success: a neighbor tells Mary with passive-aggressive sweetness that since James sold a system to nearly everyone in the area, "this neighborhood paid for that addition to your house." Ouch!

Who played Mary Sandin?

Lena Headey plays Cersei on "Game of Thrones" and was "Lady Catherine deBourgh, the greatest swordswoman in England" in "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies." She's cast against type here as a suburbanite who has difficulty taking up a gun against her attackers.

Who is Timmy?

Mary is surprisingly tolerant of the fact that her son implanted a video camera in a burnt baby doll and attached wheels, and lets "Timmy" roll around the house spying on people. Some mothers would send their kid to therapy for this!

What does James object to about Zoe's boyfriend?

James thinks Henry is too old for Zoe. We see a bigger problem in the offing: Henry is nuts -- he's planning to kill James, thinking Zoe will still want to date him after he's killed her father.

Who lets a homeless man into the house?

Charlie is portrayed as intelligent and sensitive, with a few quirks -- like his rolling video camera. When he sees the homeless man running for his life, Charlie disarms the security system and lets the man in.

When threatened by the Freaks outside, what does James first decide to do?

Part of the film's message is that appeasement never works in the long run. The Sandins go along with The Purge because it doesn't hurt them or anyone they know. And when they are threatened, James tries to explain to the leader that he supports "your right to Purge." Only two-thirds of the way through the movie does James have a change of heart, saying, "We're going to fight."

Who is the first person to die in "The Purge"?

Henry hides in the Sandin house and then tries to kill James, because James won't let Zoe date him. Apparently Henry forgot how things turned out for Romeo in "Romeo and Juliet." James returns fire and kills Henry. .

How many "Freaks" are outside the house?

The Sandins have several video surveillance cameras, and the quickly alternating images from them show different numbers of Freaks at different times, doing different things. It makes them appear more numerous and powerful than they really are.

What kind of clothing do the two female Freaks wear?

This serves to make them look disturbingly innocent, as they skip around holding machetes. It also suggests that they're confident they won't be hurt on Purge night: there's no protection in flimsy white cotton.

What kind of costume is the Polite Leader wearing?

The Polite Leader (that's really his name in the credits) says that he and his friends have "gotten gussied up in our most terrifying guises" for Purge night. But his costume also signals his belonging to the upper class -- the "haves," as he himself puts it.

Who is the first person the Polite Leader kills?

While the "Polite Leader" is quietly negotiating with James through the door, his friend approaches and shouts obscenities. Casually, the Polite Leader shoots his friend in the head, saying "I'm sorry. I don't condone that kind of behavior." Cold!

Whom does the homeless man take hostage?

Zoe goes to hide in Charlie's "secret spot," a cabinet in the back of his closet, but the homeless man is already hiding there. This leads to a standoff between James and the homeless man, which Mary breaks by shooting at the guy from behind.

In what room of the house does James kill several of the Freaks?

Yes, the Sandin house has a game room. One of the movie's ironies is that if the Sandins didn't have such an enormous house for just four people, the homeless man couldn't have just disappeared in it, and it wouldn't be so difficult to defend.

How does James die?

The Polite Leader then gently lowers James to the floor, telling him that everything is "okay." This is what the YouTube channel CinemaSins calls the "person who commits stabbing suddenly develops tender bedside manner afterward" trope. (In fact, their video on "Everything Wrong With The Purge" is highly recommended).

Who kills Mary Sandin?

The only one of the Sandins to die on Purge night is James. That's pretty good given the threats they've faced from within and without.

Why do the neighbors come to the Sandin house?

The neighbors are jealous of the Sandins' financial success and grand home. In fact, Grace thinks that killing the Sandins is a good thing: It will let them "cleanse their souls" of their jealousy and anger.

Who kills the Polite Leader?

It's poetic justice that Zoe kills him. Not only did he kill her father, but he asked one of this buddies to "save (Zoe) for me," a clear rape threat.

What does Mary do for the homeless man before he leaves?

Mary does the bare minimum for the homeless man, given that he just saved her and her family. We would have at least given him breakfast.

Who, according to the movie's criminologists, are the real victims of The Purge?

A criminologist interviewed in the movie theorizes that The Purge wipes out those who are unable to defend themselves. This removes "non-contributing members of society" from the economy.

Finish the phrase: "Blessed be America, a nation _______."

This mantra is heard several times in the movie, including at the end of the public service announcement that begins The Purge and the "prayer" the neighbors say before trying to kill the Sandins.

To date, how many sequels has "The Purge" spawned?

Following the success of "The Purge," Blum House Productions made "The Purge: Anarchy" and "Purge: Election Year." A fourth installment, "Purge: The Island," is set before the events of the first film and is scheduled for summer 2018.

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