As the 2013 movie The Purge was such a disapoinment I was not particularly interested in any sequel that would inevitably follow. However when I saw the trailer for The Purge:Anarchy I was surprised at how good it looked. So much so that I was enticed back to the cinema to see it. But will this be a rare superior sequel?
On the 21 March 2033 on the 9th year of the annual Purge across America-where all crime is legal for 12 hours-5 strangers try to survive the streets of Los Angeles. But with potential killers around every corner can they make it through the night?
The first Purge movie was constricted by it’s one setting and focusing on one rich family’s plight. I understand that having a low budget put restrictions on the setting which is why the action was set in one house and a small cast. But I was more interested in the outside world and the widespread impact of the purge, especially for the poor who cannot afford the security or the weapons to defend themselves. Thankfully due to an increase in budget this movie shows us exactly how those on the poverty line are the most at risk. The purge is the sport of the rich and privledge, and while the poor also indulge in the purge, more often then not they are the victims of it.
The 5 strangers make for a sympathetic bunch. Leo (Frank Grillo-last seen pulling bad guy duties in Captian America:The Winter Soldier) is out for revenge when he meets Eva (Carmen Ejeho) her daughter Calli (Zoe Soul) and a married couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Shanchez) desperately in need of help. Despite his better judgement he ends up helping them out. Leo is probably the nearest to a lead character and he’s great defending against anyone who tries to attack them. In fact he makes the other characters come off as a bit useless in comparison. But that also feels more realistic as these 4 people are examples of those who are naturally at a disadvantage during the time of trhe Purge and are at the mercy of people more sadastic and/or richer than they are.
There’s much more edge of your seat thrills than in the original, as the gang try to make it across Downtown, avoiding various groups trying to track them. You’re willing for them to survive the night even when things look bleak. Theres plenty of jumps and scares amid the social commentary, and also plenty more people in creepy masks like in the first film.
However there are flaws in this sequel. Sometimes the message “rich people are assholes” is too heavy handed. While the scenes on the street are exciting the sequences inside an elite hunting arena slows down the action and are not as scary as being hunted on the streets. Also theres no explaination as to why the married couple are driving around shortly before the purge is about to start. Shouldn’t they have made this journey earlier? Also why did they bother stopping for groceries on the way-you’re on a time constraint people-hurry the fuck up! A couple of times the teenage Callie can also be a bit whiney but she was not as bad as I expected.
Some viewers may also be put off by a film that preaches ‘violence is bad’ by…making a movie full of violence! While hard-core gore-loving horror fans may be put off by it’s 15 certificate (or whatever the equivilent rating is world-wide). Personally though I don’t think having a 15 certificate hindered the film. I prefer films that don’t over rely on gore (although I don’t mind a little here and there).
Rating 3.5/5 – nerve-wracking and creepy-a satisfying summer horror thats an improvement on the first film