The film is full of this. For instance, the trailer says that the USA has the unemployment rate at 1% and crime at an all-time low. Just how many people get killed off in The Purge to achieve this?
Alternately, what kind of miserable working conditions are people now willing to tolerate rather than risk getting fired and ending up on the streets, defenseless, when it happens?
The movie says unemployment is down to 1% ironically. This does not mean the economy is doing better at all, it means the American economy has stagnated, meaning no new jobs are being made for people to fill.
Leading economists debate the unemployment figure which would be healthiest in an economy (bearing in mind that people are always moving between jobs, etc) but the general consensus is that it's somewhere between 3 and 5%. 1% unemployment is not healthy. Either, as has been stated, the population has been dramatically reduced, or nobody is taking the risk of leaving a job they aren't happy in to find a new or better one.
In the opening screen of the sequel, it is stated that unemployment is at 5%. That is, not even the extreme killing and the property damage are holding the economy. Three years later the unemployment is still rising.
Alternatively, this could be propaganda with fudged and deliberately twisted half truths for statistics with wider interpretations of what is considered "employment".
The government instituted The Purge in order to achieve minimal unemployment rates and crime. How many years has The Purge been in effect?
The second film refers to the current year's (2023) purge as the sixth annual purge. Meaning in that future The Purge started in the year 2017.
However this seems to be retconned in the third film, in which a character loses her family in the purge 15 years prior to the events of the movie (2025) mean the purge has been happening since at least 2010.
Other sources say The Purge: Election Year is set in 2040 with the prologue being set 2022 and that the 2017 Purge was a trial run making 2018 the official first Annual Purge.
The film focuses on one family trying to survive a home invasion. Now imagine what's happening across the USA while this event is going on.
We see some of it on security camera footage.
The neighbors got off scot free. And they know that they outnumber the Sandins. And odds are pretty good that they are nice and pissed about failing the first time. What's stopping them from trying again next year? Letting them off the hook is going to come back and bite the Sandins big time.
Unless the Sandins just move, or let the neighbors know that they will be prepared the next time the neighbors try to kill them.
If you're wealthy, you should hope your neighbors don't resent you for it.
The Purge has normalized murder for the upcoming generation of kids. Think how easily Zoey's boyfriend came to "murder her father" as a solution for his problem: he can simply kill Mr. Sandin on Purge Night. It's perfectly okay as long it's on Purge Night. It also implies that the new party has done some persuasive propaganda at schools so that kids grow up thinking that the Purge is a legitimate tradition. Kids are easy to convince, as long as the adult authority figures say it's okay.
Not exactly horror, per se, but still worth thinking about. At the beginning of the movie, a radio caller admits that he's going to try to kill his boss during the Purge. What if his boss had heard that? What if the caller couldn't find and/or kill his boss while the Purge was going on? That's going to be rather awkward when he comes into work the next day.
Said boss would probably try to kill him first... without announcing it.
Like the OP said, it's not Fridge Horror, it's more Fridge Stupidity. It can fail/backfire in many ways. Best case scenario for him would be if he failed by not getting a chance (he couldn't enter the house, she was out of town, etc.). He just failed and would have to deal with her the whole year. Of course, the other scenarios of her seeing him and outright firing him are possible, and if he doesn't get another job soon, he would become homeless, the main target for the purge. And worst case scenario would be failing at killing her, and she just killing him while she can. So, the moral is: Don't announce your boss-killing plan on the radio.
A true source of Fridge Horror, aside all of the killings, are the unholy number of sexual assaults that are going to take place. In Real Life, over 90% of all sexual assaults and abuse are committed by people the victim knows; e.g. in male-on-female rape the rapist is almost always (contrary to the media) a boyfriend, a husband, family members or friends. What about all the kids who are forced to continue living with sexually-abusive parents because the parents manage to restrain themselves until the Purge?
Look, no matter how brainwashed the people are in this film, it's likely they would go "fuck the legal system" and personally tear the molester's limbs from their body with their bare hands.
But even more likely that those kinds of people will be too busy with their own purging to carry out those kinds of self-administered justice.
Fair enough, but there would still be people determined to take down rapists and pedophiles no matter how fucked up the world of The Purge Universe is.
Would someone willing to rape/molest someone really be willing or able to resist doing so for a whole year except for one night? Maybe murder can be put off because you can only murder someone once, but surely if you're the type to rape your spouse you're not going to be happy with just doing it once.
College campuses are going to be a horror show in the making (and especially the Greek houses), for it won't be just other students raping and killing, but teachers/lecturers and the jealous/angry townspeople, and you know that there'll be groups of people who wait for this every year, and travel around to different colleges just to get to rape every beautiful young co-ed they can get their hands on.
Maybe by this point, all colleges and universities are online campuses?
What really makes this a case of Fridge Horror is that either there's a massive baby boom every year, roughly nine months after The Purge (which makes sense - that's how the government replenishes those killed every year), the government deliberately has The Purge in the summer (to avoid colleges becoming magnets for devastation) - or there are very few, if any colleges anymore (save private schools that can afford mercenary forces to protect the campuses every year, and even then some of them might decide to turn on the colleges they're paid to protect).
Moviebob brought this up in his review for The Purge, what other crimes are being committed during those twelve hours; hackers and black marketers doing all their work, all small businesses close because only megastores have the funds to hire private armies needed to keep their stuff, any terrorist attack on American soil, amoral scientists with no regards for human life begin inhuman experimentation on people and make work on any and all banned research.
Speaking of a terrorist attack, someone could make a bomb, set it in a public area during the Purge, and then set it to explode after the Purge is over to make for an unexpected and devastating terrorist attack.
It's possible large bombs are considered level 5 or above weapons. The government has no interest in the Purge resulting in a terrorist attack, essentially a blow against itself. Maybe the cameras that seem to be everywhere are even monitored for such a possibility.
Imagine the aftermath of each Purge. The immediate day after. Imagine yourself going through your phone book, or using the social mediums, to see who's answering and who seems to have vanished. How many of your friends are dead? How many members of your extended family have been killed? How many people you know have been murdered to get that beautiful 1% unemployment rate and low crime? And, most of all: How many of your friends, how many members of your extended family, how many people you know have KILLED other people that night? How could you trust other human beings after thinking they may have been killing other humans during an event that makes it all legal? How will you act towards your neighbors if you find out they've killed some people? How would you react if, say, one of your friends killed another of your friends because of an argument you didn't know about? All trust between humans is gone due to the Purge. The Purge comes and goes after 12 hours, but the psychological wounds stay.
As in the original novel for Battle Royale, this may be the point. I've only seen the first movie, but the worshipful attitude people have toward the New Founding Fathers makes me think that there's a LOT of brainwashing and propaganda that goes on that isn't shown in the movie. The Purge might be for the purpose of making people feel grateful for the enforced order the New Founding Fathers impose, as well as distrustful enough of each other to cripple any sort of resistance movement.
And this is not even going into the matters of rape as stated earlier on this page. Death is permanent, but people who have been raped and are still alive will have to live with the consequences of these crimes, including psychological trauma, unwanted pregnancies, and the list goes on...oh, and since it was all legally sanctioned, there would be no way to seek justice or any kind of legal or punitive repercussions, either, outside of maybe getting your revenge on your attacker during the next Purge if you are able to identify and locate that person by then.
For that matter, imagine a few years down the road, you're a perfectly happy kid living with your single mom (although you may actually have both parents), and everything's going swell, even if you never knew your father or you don't look like him. One day, out of curiosity, you count back nine months from your birthday to try and figure out the date of your conception... and you realize you were conceived on Purge Night.
Unfortunately, even if a child has both blood parents and things are going alright if their conception date falls in line with the Purge night the possibility of them being a Child by Rape is still high. Not exactly a far fetch that even spouses/significant others would betray or abuse one another in the worse ways possible during that time...
On the headscratchers page, someone brought up the question, if you can keep what you stole on Purge Night, can you keep who you kidnapped? Well, what if the answer is "yes"? The Purge must be a sex trafficker's dream come true.
Even if you can't legally keep whoever you kidnapped, what's stopping them? Twelve hours is enough time to kidnap some poor girl and get her miles and miles away from home, far away and without a trace of evidence left by the time the police can look into it. Imagine that girl's poor family, not knowing why their daughter didn't make it home, praying that she's alive somewhere and didn't get murdered during the Purge, only to find out she's been taken away and made a Sex Slave...
A meta example: Plenty of people have commented on the bikers being Karma Houdinis. Then you realize: Within this universe their Punch-Clock Villain status doesn't even make them evil enough for the narrative to bother punishing them!
In real life, many groups such as the KKK harass people even without legal protection. Now imagine what they'd be like in the Purge.
Imagine how otherwise physically passive hate groups like the WBC would be like during the Purge....
There are probably guys and girls in that universe who idolize the Heath Ledger Joker and other fictional villains. Imagine those people living out their fantasy pretending to be them during the purge. There would be no cops and army to stop them. You would have a bunch of Jokers, Ghostfaces, Hannibal Lectors, and Harley Quinns running rampage on the streets. It could get MUCH worse. The Purge could give birth to "real life" super villains. You see psychopaths wearing costumes and masks in the films. Imagine a bunch of crazies going all the way by adopting gimmicks and codenames.
As pointed out in this video, the concept behind the series - while far-fetched when taken literally - is a terrific illustration of why laws exist in the first place: to keep otherwise law-abiding citizens accountable for their actions. While there would still be law breakers in a law-bound society, the amount of theft, assault, and other crimes that would ensue wouldn't be nearly on the same scale as what's seen in the Purge.
The leader of the gang goes on and on about how their participation in the purge is doing a great service for their country. But the stranger is wearing dog tags and camo, indicating he's a former soldier and has probably done more for his country than they ever will.
With the true nature of the Purge being further revealed in the following movies, this is actually a pretty good hint at what's really going on here. Nothing has anything to do with the good of the country, it's solely a way to eradicate the lower classes and keep the higher classes powerful. It basically boils down to 'the poor and weak are nothing but playthings to the rich and powerful', which is true for both cases.
By the second movie we learn that the government are hiring death squads because Purge Night isn't killing ENOUGH random people - because most killers only kill with reasons, while all semi-decent people will hide on Purge Night, while others go vigilante, and the true monsters who go out to commit random crime are being legally killed themselves as we see during the movie. So you're certainly getting rid of society's true monsters - except for those death squads.
In the first film, Charlie has a habit of checking his vitals. At first glance, it seems like he's just a strange kid, but when you think about it he's just being cautious. If he has medical problems during the purge, he's screwed because no emergency services means no ambulances or hospitals.
The Sandins' neighbors resent them for their success, especially given that they feel that they essentially paid for the Sandins' lifestyle by buying James' security systems. When the Sandins' house is overrun, they also get to see that their "security" systems, identical to his, aren't all that they're cracked up to be. So their reason for attacking the Sandins is more than just petty jealousy — they feel that James ripped them off.
Probably not intentional, but The Purge is likely a major source of crony capitalism (the government supporting large businesses, and keeping them afloat). Big businesses, like Walmart, would have the resources to protect their assets, small businesses would not, and thus the competition would be eliminated.
Not to mention businesses could use the Purge as an opportunity to destroy competitors.
All the below mentioned Fridge Logic about The Purge's supposed economic benefits can be justified by one simple fact: we only learn about said benefits via government propaganda. For all we know, it's all a bunch of lies.
While the Kill the Poor element is established, it might also appear as a safety valve for the poor too. They might use the night to make marginal improvements to their lives via looting and thus be less likely to want improvements year round. This also would expose them for execution.
Plenty of people have pointed out how any prison sentence that runs through the Purge is almost certainly a death sentence now, as the prisoners would either be free to kill each other, or be picked off by guards. Then you remember how Leo wanted to avenge his son against a drunk driver who was let off on an unspecified "technicality." You then have to wonder just how many criminals are let go by police and juries who don't think they deserve to die... which, in turn, gives you even more reason to question the touted "low crime rates."
It's debatable if this was intentional, but you could argue that the government's use of death squads is a parody of the way right-wing politicians in the US demand that free-market capitalism runs unregulated, but then vote to subsidize corporations when profits aren't high enough.
Alternatively, it is a parallel to the Cold War-era Latin American far-right dictatorships, backed by the US, which used death squads that raped nuns, slaughtered whole villages and tortured people.
What was a homeless man doing in a well-to-do suburb a good distance from the poor section of the city? Why was the polite stranger and his gang so intent on pursuing this one homeless man, even to break into a fortified home? Anarchy answered this Fridge Logic: the polite stranger and his gang paid some people that abducted him so they could personally murder him within the comfort of their own home. He killed one of them and escaped.
So who benefits from the purge other than security? Funeral homes must make big business right after a purge. Overtime for hospitals, police and fire departments after the purge is over. Construction/repair companies must do well, as with landscaping companies.
I imagine the insurance companies don't like it, though!
It's probably a two-edged sword for them. On the one hand, they'll have to pay out the backside after a purge. On the other hand, the existence of a purge means more people will want to get insurance to make sure one that hits them hard won't screw them and their families over, and the increased risk of damage through a purge (especially to low-class families) gives insurance companies a good excuse to drive up the premiums.
This is actually explored in Election Year with Joe Dixon and his deli. He's forced to stay and protect his store, his livelihood, because the costs of purge insurance went too high that particular year for him to be able to afford it. The purge helps the rich not only by letting them physically kill the poor, but indirectly. If you own a small business and cannot afford insurance, you can either A) go about your usual hiding and waiting out the purge plan and pray to whatever deity you're closest to that your place of business will not be damaged too badly, or B) stay at your business and defend it as best you can, which puts you at risk of death yourself by keeping yourself exposed to murder while defending from looters. The insurance companies of the rich are causing people to either risk losing their livelihoods so that they become more homeless canon fodder to be knocked off by death squads, or putting themselves up for death risk right up front.
In Anarchy Diego is clearly symbolic of a non-intellectual Conservative, spouting ideals he only half understands because he sees them as momentarily beneficial. Not only does he say that his Right to Purge was "granted" (an idea never stated by the Sandins in the first movie, and going wildly against Conservative principles of "Natural Rights"), he even mispronounces the name of his own Political Party, calling them the "New Found Fathers."
The third film shows a corpse disposal service during the Purge. Awaiting morning might be safer, but corpse-related services are subject to a plethora of regulations that could be ignored.
A common question that comes up is why are the crimes shown on screen violent? What about hacking into a financial institution and transferring all the funds into your account? If you think about it, while acts may not be proscuted criminally, there are civil recourses to recover your assets. And considering the premise of the movie is the truly wealthy and powerful gaining control over society, it's not too much of a stretch to assume that they'd have put into place safeguards for regaining their lost property, even if the act of taking that property was technically not illegal.
A lot of people question the statistics shown of the purge's efficacy, but there's a good chance they're just not accurate. Especially considering the jingoistic propoganda that's shown on television, the truth is probably more insidious: the rich people in power are in control of the media, and want to continue having popular support for the purge, so they simply create fake statistics to rally popular support for it.
One criticism about the Purge is that people could take simple steps to avoid it. Such as leaving the country for the night. Such as via flying. However, the flaws in this are exactly what makes the Purge target its specific death demographic. Middle to upper class people might have the means to leave if they don't wish to participate or want to avoid all potential risk. However, those who are poor, and thus wouldn't be able to leave, would be forced to stay at home if they're not in a border state close enough that they could skip across for a day or two, even if they'd be able to get off work early enough to do so without losing their jobs. The people that the government Wants to die in the Purge would be trapped simply by economic circumstance, perpetually at risk of dying each year with no escape.
Like most Straw Dystopia, this franchise and the implication of the setting are poorly thought out. How does the Purge reduce any crimes besides what little theft it perpetrated by the dead-broke or is acomplished in one night, murders between family members, and serial killings? How does killing all poor people, leaving less consumers and cheap laborers, help the economy? Who enforces the restrictions on weapons if there's no police, a simple mask can stop you from being ID'd, and most U.S. cities don't have a military base nearby? What's stopping anyone who wants to make their Purge night memorable from burning down whole cities or national parks, which is trivially easy without police or firefighters? Why don't people simply save up year-round to take a few days vacation in Canada or Mexico or emigrate, legally or illegally? How do the elitist snobs, no doubt responsible for the economic collapse, gain power after it with a platform of genocide on the very people who do the most voting in times of crisis? Do people in masks generally not fire on one-another, or do purgers see their streets riddled with corpses that look just like them every year, and still decide to go out on purge night without a plan? Why hasn't the rest of the world slapped the U.S. with crippling embargos to stop this nonsense? What's stopping a hacker or accountant from stealing every penny from a bank's millions of clients, then leaving the country? How does the nation still have a EMS any day, or any kind of pop-culture when EMS and law and order are now frowned upon, and have massive targets painted on their backs, come purge night, just like celebrities? How can the NFF and their corporate supporters get along when they'd probably be using the night to perform corporate espionage on each other? And why did they choose the purge as their defining platform once they took over when there are far simpler, safer, and more effective ways of increasing your own power and satisfying sadistic whims that governments have practiced in the past (convict slavery, demanding tribute from weaker countries, secret police, and most importantly, abolishing democracy and free speech to ensure the plot of the third movie never happens)? Bellsarios Maxim would apply if the first film at least didn't take itself so seriously, so as social commentaries and dysoptian films, these objectively fail. Whether they're decent action or horror though, is YMMV.
Sequels to the movie make it clear the United States is just a Far Right dictatorship who is using the Purge as a way to eliminate the impoverished and there's not actually that much violent crime which isn't responsible for them as well. The night of chaos is just designed to cover up their own illicit horrifying activities.
Which doesn't explain how such a government (which clearly isn't a dictatorship, as per the entire point of the third movie) came to powerm why they would do that when a lower class is neccescary to a functioning society, or why the crimes they want committed are the only ones that happen, or why the rest of the world hasn't done anything.
Honestly, it's rather ironic that the first film in the franchise is a home invasion thriller since—if you think about it—committing burglaries and/or home invasions on Purge Night would be a suicidally stupid thing to do. The whole "all crime is legal tonight" thing is a double-edge sword; you would be breaking into someone's home on the one night of the year that the homeowner(s) can deal with you as they see fit without concern for whether or not their actions conform to the legal definition of self-defense. Best case scenario, they kill you the instant they catch you in their house; worst case scenario, the sky's the limit on what nastiness they could subject you to before they've had their fill and get around to finishing you off. Even in real life, committing such crimes is a throw of the dice, and sometimes you roll snake eyes. In the Purge universe, you may find you're the fly trespassing in the spider's web if you pick the wrong house to mess with.
This new America no longer places individual human life as its top value. Whatever disaster they suffered has caused America to shift to a more collective society that is capitalistic American at its face, but demands that people sacrifice individualism for the sake of the nation and the economy. Younger people, like Zoey's boyfriend, get riled up by propaganda that participating in The Purge is their patriotic duty and that poorer and weaker people are in effect traitors to America for draining taxpayer resources. It's why people do suicidally stupid things in this universe: being a living "undesirable" is worse than dying on Purge night. If your house and your job gets taken away, that makes you a problem, a lower class citizen in normal life, and a prime target not just for the next Purge, but for every Purge that comes after that for who knows how long. It's a significant drop in status that most people would not want to risk.