Broken Base: Very unusual that it applied to the FIRST entry in a series, but some viewers hated this film for not exploring its premise, while others think it did what it could with the budget it had during production and was fine leaving room for the sequels to expand upon that .
Critic-Proof: Critics lambasted the film for being a Cliché Storm filled with cheap scares and social commentary that is never fully developed. It still opened at #1 and recouped its cheap budget many times over.
Idiot Plot: The first film wouldn't have happened if Charlie hadn't let the stranger in his house. Later, the Sandins' decision to not turn over the stranger escalates the scenario.
Subverted their neighbors were planning on killing them anyway and were able to act upon it once their defenses were taken down.
Mary Suetopia: Of a dystopian kind. Taking the Does This Remind You of Anything? entry on the main page into account, the new America seems to be a strawman version of what the filmmakers thought conservatives and libertarians would like to turn the country into.
There's something darkly amusing about how Zoe walks downstairs just in time to see her boyfriend start shooting at her dad, her mom and her little brother, and when he gets his crazy ass shot instead she's way more concerned about the attempted murderer than the rest of her family. Girl, those are some hilariously awfulSkewed Priorities.
EVERY moment "Polite Stranger" appears, from his cheesy gleeful grinning every time he makes a threat to the Sandins to him kissing James's forehead after stabbing him. This "trying-way-too-hard-to-be-scary" attitude, depending on how seriously you're taking the movie, can either be annoying or hilarious and endearing.
The sheer number of times a villain is killed by someone showing up behind them and pumping them full of lead just as they're about to kill one of the family members.
The amount of times one of the Sandins runs off to another part of the house, causing the remaining family members to split up again to find them.
One of the deranged, murderous neighbors (Grace) makes a pathetic last ditch effort to kill the family in the Purge's final seconds, which promptly gets her ass beat down by the family's matriarch (Mary is so done with everything Purge-related at this point). It seriously makes you wonder just why they want to kill them so much.
Paranoia Fuel: If there is one thing to take away from the film, it's the idea that your neighbors, who seem all friendly and smiles, will likely try to shoot you if the opportunity presented itself for the most petty of reasons. This basically indicates virtually no one is safe in this society once Purge Night commences as people can and will act on their primal instincts if given the chance and trust is a very rare thing.
The Scrappy: Charlie and Zoe, both for defining the term Too Dumb to Live. Every action they take makes things worse and in Charlie's case, it gets his father killed.
The franchise can be taken as this for the Rockstar game, Manhunt, as both are about people fighting for their lives in settings where crime is ignored against factions of masked killers.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The general consensus is that an intriguing concept (all crime is legal for twelve hours as a way to create social order) is barely explored, and the plot is a basic Home Invasion thriller with The Purge being just a contextual excuse as to why the family can't call the cops. You get some glimpses into the Purge at large through very brief news reports. For example, as many as 200 people are reported to have engaged in a mass free-for-all purging in their town centre.
This led to a huge Retool for the franchise starting with the second film, due to fan complaints about how the first film was way too small scale and basically a generic home invasion film with the "Crime is Legal for 12 Hours" angle slapped onto it as an afterthought. Every film since Purge: Anarchy is set in a major city, with full detail shown towards citizens in the background doing all sorts of violent and depraved things, and deconstructing the entire premise of why legalizing crime for one night doesn't work and how it's a cover for eugenic-style mass murder of the poor.
Henry, Zoey's boyfriend, thinks it's a great idea to remove James' Parental Marriage Veto by hiding in the family's house and killing him during the Purge. Yeah, Zoey's definitely going to want to stay in a relationship with the person who murdered her father in front of her, regardless of whether it was legal at the time. He also doesn't take into account that, since it's Purge Night, James will be packing, and actually informs him of what he's about to do before he attacks; thus he gets shot and killed like the idiot he is.
Special mention goes to the guy who, on the radio, says that he's going to kill his boss that night. He better hope his boss wasn't listening to the radio.
The TV Series
Complete Monster: Ben Gardner is a college student who gets his first kill on Purge night, unlocking a repressed bloodlust within him. Outside of the Purge, he murders a farmer for supposedly shortchanging him, and when he learns that the NFFA covered it up to protect Purge statistics, he decides that this means he can get away with murder. Ben goes on a killing spree, stalking his targets for upwards of weeks before attacking and even getting physically aggressive with his girlfriend when she learns his secret and tries to flee. On the next Purge night, he massacres his frat house because they express concern for his mental state, then proceeds to slaughter everyone in his path, both violent Purgers and the doctors that save his life. Growing to live only to fuel his God complex through killing others, Ben serves as the living embodiment of everything wrong with the Purge.
In season 1, Good Leader Tavis, the intense, charismatic leader of a cult selling people to purgers, inspired this reaction (or at least Evil Is Cool), being considered to be more of a zealot than a fraud by some and even being one of just two character, not from the series, but from the franchise to get a Wikipedia page.
Ben's arc of transforming into a Serial Killer still had some fans arguing about what a troubled misguided not entirely malicious guy he was all the way to the season 2 finale (if not past that).
Strangled by the Red String: In season 2, Rick and Esme go from barely trusting each other to being lovers during the Time Skip in the last few episodes, with little explanation of how.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: There's actually a whole article complaining about how Kelen's season 2 death felt cruel and her surviving to return for revenge on Purge night had the potential for a better ending.