This sequel is the film its predecessor should have been… but still not as good as it could have been.
In my opinion, many horror films nowadays lack originality. If it’s not a knife wielding maniac breaking into someone’s cabin in the woods, it’s likely to be a demon. When I first heard about the original Purge movie, I was genuinely excited about its inventive concept – like an episode of The Twilight Zone cranked up to 11 (a little Spinal Tap reference for you there!).
For those that don’t know, the ‘purge’ is an annual 12-hour window where all crime (including murder) is legal. It’s a way for people to ‘cleanse’ their souls and for crime to be at an all-time-low during the rest of the year. Sounds refreshingly different, right? Yet, for some reason James DeMonaco (the writer-director) focused the original film around a boring home invasion movie – something we’ve all seen before.
With 2013’s ‘The Purge’ making $64 million against a $3 million budget, it’s no surprise that DeManaco was given a bigger pot of money to play with for this sequel.
This time around, we get to see the concept unfolding throughout an entire City. Five victims find themselves trapped outside in the war-torn streets. Mother and daughter Eva and Cali Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul) are forced out of their flat by a mysterious group of trained killers. Partners Shane and Liz (Zack Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) have their vehicle tampered with – resulting in their car breaking down. And the movie’s action man – Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is purposely in the middle of the anarchy to seek vengeance on the man responsible for his son’s death. The group come into contact with Barnes, who reluctantly leads them to safety. The problem is, on Purge Night, is anywhere really safe?
For a film that has been released just a year after its predecessor, the movie is better than I had expected. It’s tightly paced, has genuinely suspenseful sequences and characters the audience actually root for.
Unfortunately, I still don’t think DeMonaco has made the most of a genuinely unique concept. The story as a whole may be original, but the individual scenes are loaded with scenarios we’ve seen before. There are also certain things about the film that are laughable. With just an hour to go until the Purge begins, certain characters don’t seem overly keen to get to safety. There is also a political message thrown in that is far from subtle… apparently, poor people are victims, whilst the rich are evil. One scene even goes as far as showing the rich literally hunting down the poor in their own private arena.
Overall, The Purge: Anarchy is daft but a lot of fun – and much better than last year’s instalment.
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Cast: Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, Zach Gilford, Michael K. Williams & Amy Paffrath
Running Time: 1hr 44mins
Written & Directed by: James DeMonaco
See it if you liked: The Purge & Hostel [youtube id=”XzFCDqKE4yA” width=”600″ height=”350″]