One of those low-budget, high-concept movies that occasionally strikes from nowhere to bestride the US box office, horror thriller The Purge is the second feature from writer-director James DeMonaco after 2009’s Little New York. It’s 2022 and in a reborn United States, crime and unemployment levels are kept to record lows following the instigation of an annual “Purge,” a 12-hour period when all crime — robbery, rape, murder, the lot — is rendered legal and people are free to vent their frustrations. Time to batten down the hatches at the home of James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), a salesman who has made his fortune selling Purge-proof security systems, and his wife Mary (Lena Headey, Game of Thrones). But when their son lets in a wounded stranger as the Purge gets underway, the family find themselves under direct attack.
Based on a real-life World War II tale, Into the White stars Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint and Lachlan Nieboer (Downton Abbey) as British airmen crash-landed in the icy Norwegian wilderness who are forced to share the same cabin with some stranded German counterparts. Rivalry turns to cooperation as they unite to survive the harsh winter.
Staying in Scandinavia, Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) returns to his native Sweden to get in on the Nordic crime act with The Hypnotist. Based on Lars Kepler’s novel, it stars Mikael Persbrandt (In a Better World) as a retired hypnotist who teams up with a detective (Tobias Zilliacus) to help solve a brutal murder. But things get complicated when the shrink’s son disappears.
Premiered at this year’s Sundance festival, thriller The East stars actress-co-writer Brit Marling as an undercover agent who starts questioning the morality of her work after she infiltrates an eco-activist group targeting major corporations. The film, which also stars Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård and Patricia Clarkson, is directed by Zal Batmanglij, brother of Vampire Weekend band member Rostam Batmanglij.
Still growing up
A sequel most of us could surely have done without, Grown Ups 2 finds high-school buddies Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock and David Spade — though no Rob Schneider, this time — back reliving their youth in their home town and learning a few lessons from their own kids. With Salma Hayek and Steve Buscemi.
Set between Barcelona and Argentina, Alberto Lecchi’s Sola contigo stars Ariadna Gil as a seemingly successful career woman battling with depression and trying to win back her children, whose life takes an even darker turn when she starts receiving death threats.