Writer-director James DeMonaco has a hit on his hands. The Purge, a low-budget action-thriller he made for US$3 million (S$3.8 million) has raked in more than US$83 million internationally.
This has come as a surprise to many, including DeMonaco himself.
The script has a "fragile, very tricky subject matter", where all hell is allowed to break loose for one night a year for the greater good of society, he tells Life! on the telephone from Los Angeles.
The 43-year-old says: "I found it to be an absurd and not very realistic concept. It also has a very anti-American sentiment, done on purpose. I hoped to start a discourse on American relationship with violence.
"To be quite honest, there were many people who told us along the way that the movie was way too anti-American, it depicted an America that was too ugly."
DeMonaco and producer and frequent collaborator Sebastien Lemercier, who is French, held their faith in the script for The Purge because they felt that it would work as an independent movie, opening in a smaller number of cinemas.
The director says: "The film is an allegory, it's science-fiction that puts up a mirror to society. But there are people who think that American could come to this, which is actually very scary.
"They think that it is a realistic look at the future. It's crazy if you think about it."