Legal criminals terrorize Ethan Hawke’s home in new ‘The Purge’ trailer

Surely among the more outlandish of Hollywood’s premises in recent years, the upcoming “The Purge” looks at what happens when a society gives criminals a break — for 12 hours. The brand new trailer reveals that law-abiding citizens are in one long, scary night. 

In the near future, unemployment and crime are at an all-time low. Sound good? The reason for that prosperity is what’s known as “The Purge” — an annual 12-hour period in which all criminal activity (robbery, rape, murder, you name it) is completely legal and will go unpunished by the law. It’s completely up to the citizens to regulate themselves and administer any punishment they see fit after a transgression occurs. Of course, one family’s moral boundaries are put to the test when their heavily fortified home is inevitably invaded. 

Watch the trailer here:

“The Purge” was directed by James DeMonaco, who wrote “The Negotiator” and the “Assault on Precinct 13” remake, and both those films have a lot in common with “The Purge,” which finds a small group of people being besieged by criminals.

“Assault” star Ethan Hawke leads the “Purge” cast, and underlines the two films’ parallels. Overall, it doesn’t appear to be too far removed from such recent home invasion thrillers as “The Strangers” and the upcoming “You’re Next,” only with a heavy-handed dose of political commentary — including “America the Beautiful” in the trailer was probably enough to make the point, but it also closes with an image of the U.S. flag. 

Jason Blum (“Paranormal Activity”) produced, along with Platinum Dunes” partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (“The Amityville Horror,” The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), and “Assault” producer Sébastien Kurt Lemercier.

“The Purge” opens May 31.

What do you think of the trailer?