Halloween MovieFest - Movie #13 - Pure

Updated: Oct 23


Streaming Service: Hulu

Watched: 10/13/2020


The film Pure hits a little close to home for me. I was raised in a very conservative evangelical community. In fact I really didn’t have a lot of connection outside of that small community for a good portion of my early life. Though my mother taught us at home about a loving and kind Savior, a lot of the teachings at my private Christian school and in Sunday school were very much in the vein of hellfire and brimstone. Happily, my mom’s influence on me eventually led me to have a much healthier relationship with Christianity, but I did go through a lot of negative emotions centered around the concept of purity. This is particularly loaded when you’re a survivor. I lived a good portion of the earlier part of my life believing that I was chewed up bubblegum.


If you catch that reference, you’ve either seen this film already or you have sat through a purity lesson in church or Christian school.


Pure is centered around a group of teenage girls who are on a camp getaway with their fathers. It’s filled with Bible teaching and will end with a purity ball. The girls are all pretty much normal teenagers and they reminded me of many of the young girls I grew up around. The atmosphere of oppression that suffocates them is something I’m very well acquainted with. I found their individual struggles reminiscent of things I saw growing up. What I found so disturbing about the film is that many of the comments made by the girls are ones I heard when I was growing up. Their reality is not that far removed from the one I experienced.

Purity balls really do exist and many young women are taught that their sexuality and their bodies do not belong to them but to their fathers and, in the future, their husbands. They’re not taught to have a healthy relationship with their body or how it functions. Purity balls and rings have been a controversial practice within the Christian community. A lot of people are definitely disturbed by the appearance of a wedding occurring between a father and a daughter when she vows to remain a virgin. I can tell you as a survivor, I would’ve hated being forced into this practice. The concept of the purity ring, the purity ball, and the purity contract are very much centered on controlling female sexuality. And though the film takes a lot of dramatic license with the outcome of this teaching, I did see young girls have complete breakdowns when they gave in to a kiss or holding someone’s hand or even entertaining sexual thoughts. I also saw young girls get disowned by their families because they were never educated in how to have safe sex so they ended up pregnant at a young age. I also saw young women forced to make public apologies and confessions during chapel at my private school. So this film really hits close to home for me.


Not that I ever tried to summon Lilith…


Lately, Lilith has been a more popular fixture in recent films and television shows. Her origins as Adam’s first wife are mostly ignored by the Christian church, but is important in the context of the story. The question of whether or not she’s an angel or a demon comes into play as does the concept of female vengeance against oppressors.


The film comes across as an extended Twilight Zone Episode, so there really aren’t a lot of special-effects per se to portray the supernatural aspect. Lilith’s appearances are mostly reliant not on spooky visuals but sound. In other words they try to get you jump scares with loud music. I never found her particularly frightening. I was more curious about what her intentions were and how it would play into the girls’ story after they summoned her.


The acting of the younger cast is pretty decent and honestly the behavior of the men in their lives did not seem particularly out of character from what I saw growing up. I could see a lot of people from my past watching this film and being on the side of the dads. They would totally condemn the girls for meddling with Lilith, magic and sex, and consider them evil.


Not sure I can really recommend this film simply because I feel like you need to have come out of that environment for it to be disturbing.


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I really wish we could’ve seen what Lilith and the girls got up to once they left the camp.

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