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As controversial as The Purge has always been, the world had thankfully been spared from stories of impressionable copycats. At least, until tonight, as a 19 year old in Indiana has committed several crimes, including murder and kidnapping, and he's referenced the Universal film in connection to his actions.
The Wrap intercepted reports of Jonathan Cruz, the man who engaged in a variety of felonious acts between the dates of May 12 and May 15, before being arrested on the 16th for an "unrelated case." Cruz confessed to a witness that he was purging, in the vein of the fictitious crimes committed in 2013's The Purge and 2014's sequel The Purge: Anarchy, as well as referenced the films in text messages to friends and family he was soliciting the aid of once he'd completed his crimes.
It's not the first time, and it certainly won't be the last time that a fictional product like The Purge will inspire an unstable citizen to commit a crime similar to that which was shown on the screen. However, this has to be one of the most extreme instances we've seen in some time. Certainly, commentary has been made that society seems to be ever closer resembling that of the world in The Purge's America, but that's always been on more of a political level, and not on a societal field of play. With these crimes in the news, the thoughts of some critics may turn to just how "responsible" it was to create a series of such content.
Obviously, this possibility must make Universal anxious, as the third film in the series, The Purge: Election Year, is set to be released on July 1st. With the series rising in popularity after each passing film, writer/director James DeMonaco and the studio that has backed him might start thinking about delaying their finished product, out of respect of the victims that tragedy. Though, that may depend on how much more coverage and legal wrangling is involved with the real life proceedings of Jonathan Cruz's case.
So far, The Purge: Election Year is scheduled for a release on July 1st, but should that change for any reason, we'll inform you when we get the details. In the meantime, our thoughts go out to anyone who was affected by this tragedy.