New horrific psychological thriller, The Purge, has shocked critics upon its release this weekend with astonishing box office takings of $36.4 million in cinemas.
Starring Ethan Hawke, The Purge is set in the not-so-distant future of a 2022 America and narrates a future where crime and unemployment statistics are at an all-time low after all criminal mayhem is permitted by government ruling for a 12 hour annual period: murder, robbery and neighbour-bashing are all perfectly condoned in the cathartic night of 'Purge.'
Initial ratings showed that, despite an intriguing premise, critics weren't impressed and the film was slaughtered, garnering a squishy current 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes' tomatometer.
"Predictable!" scorned The Guardian; "heavy-handed and crude!", disparaged the NY Times. However against all odds, the mini-budget James DeMonaco thriller - working with a teeny budget of just $3million - has raked in the dough in its profitable first weekend after being release on 7th June, scooping $36.4million (£23.5m).
USA Today attributes the film's storming success to an effective cocktail of great concept, Ethan Hawke's presence, and the movie's strong social media presence, with creepy photos and teasing trailers since April.
Perhaps it's a sign of the times: with many countries stuck in economic ruts plus soaring crime and unemployment rates, people may be looking to the movie that explores alternative answers - however controversial they may be.
The Purge is now unleashed in a cinema near you - just don't go copying any of the extreme violence after that hedge-trimmer quarrel with your neighbour.