The Purge: Anarchy
The Purge Anarchy
Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoë Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley, Jack Conley, Noel Gugliemi, Castulo Guerra, Michael K. Williams, Edwin Hodge, Keith Stanfield, Roberta Valderrama, Niko Nicotera
Synopsis: A young couple works to survive on the streets after their car breaks down right as the annual purge commences.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong disturbing violence, and for language
8 / 10
- Good script
- Interesting concept that's utilized better in this sequel than it was in the previous one.
- Acting was fairly decent
- The film ran at a decent pace
- Most of the characters are written well
- Fails to expand upon the world that was established from the previous film
- Story ends almost exactly the same way as the last one.
- Some of the characters aren't written well like the married couple that's contemplating divorce.
Think of all the good the purge does......
While I hesitate to call "The Purge: Anarchy" the best horror movie that I've ever seen, I will admit it features arguably one of the more interesting story ideas ever conceived for a film. The concept of it revolves around a futuristic society that seems to be thriving thanks the annual "Purge." Basically, it's a holiday that takes place one night a year, and all crime becomes legal for that night; including murder. All politicians are excluded from this of course, and all weapons used must range anywhere from class one to class four, during this event.
Unlike the last movie that centered primarily on one family trying to survive the "purge", this one seems to focus on a group of random strangers coming together to try to survive the night. Another notable change from the last film, it's that the venue of the "purge" has changed.
In the last movie, "The Purge" took place in a rich class family's house, as they tried desperately to fend off unwanted intruders; within their suburban home. This one seems a bit scarier in the fact that it takes place in an entire city, with very little to no places to hide. Sure, they do find shelter here and there occasionally, but their pursuers ultimately end up finding them anyway; hence they're constantly on the run throughout most of the night.
Granted, each of these strangers that band together have their own interesting back stories. Many are brought together by the purge, in a need for survival; while the night also reveals for some to vent off personal vendettas and old scores.
Like The Purge", "The Purge: Anarchy" presents an interesting concept that acts as a deep character study to analyze the depths of humanity's thirst for violence. As we watch the film, it's not necessarily scary per say to where you'll find yourself jumping out of your seat half the time. Heck, this movie doesn't even feature any jump scares either; unless you want to count the one that started before the purge actually begins.
No, most of this film's horror resonates from the fact that it shocks you with how sadistic society can be. While showing how deep down inside, we can tend to let our animalistic carnal desires override our sense of common decency in society. How sometimes we tend to justify our wicked intentions to suit our own gain. After all, when a person wrongs another, those seldom few that hurt those people ever want to admit they were in the wrong. No, in their perspective, they believe the person they wronged deserved it; whether the facts support that or not.
Yet among the indecency of humanity, a shred of good can shine as well among all the carnage. Perhaps showing that even behind our selfish world filled to the brim with lies, deceit, betrayal, war, murder and violence that a shred of compassion and forgiveness can exist after all; even in a society that arrogantly justifies taking away another's life one day a year for any and all reasons.
It's an interesting concept to say the least, and in a strange way, this film reminds me of the old Japanese film, "Rashomon." For those of you who haven't seen that old movie, it was essentially a Japanese film that also explored the dark side of humanity as well, while emphasizing how we can tend to perceive things to suit our own personal needs; regardless of the facts. Showing how even those with the best of intentions can lie to either deceive themselves, or to justify that their intentions were good even if the evidence proves otherwise. "Rashomon" was a deep story that not only played upon these themes perfectly, but it also showed how even though we're capable of wicked things that humanity can still show compassion as well.
In a strange way, it seems like "The Purge: Anarchy" tries to do the same thing; minus the whole concept of how we each perceive things differently. Not that I'm comparing the two films by any means, but I'm merely stating an observation.
Overall, the script for this film is surprisingly good, and much better than the last one, as this one takes full advantage of the concept. In the previous one, it had an interesting premise to work with, but it succumbed to all the traditional maniac trying to break in and kill us cliches, to where you could've very easily have written it to be just about a normal family living in today's society, with a bunch of random psychopaths trying to break in and kill them, and it wouldn't changed the story. The concept wasn't fully utilized to it's potential that the end results felt a bit underwhelming.
Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case with this sequel. Not only does this film explore the concept a bit more, but it expands on it as well. Not only showing how the upper and middle class feel about the purge, but it also shows the poor class as well. Showing how some people feel the purge is nothing more than a means to keep the population under control; particularly those in the poor class of society. "The Purge: Anarchy" paints a very grim detailed picture of society, as it shows how the purge benefits the upper class of the United States, while those less fortunate are doomed to be victims of chance.
Hell, the rich class is vilified more in this film than they were in the last one. Showing some of them buying people off to sacrifice themselves, so they can purge them in the comfort of their luxurious mansions. While others pay money at auctions to participate in a purge that takes place in a secluded area, so the rich can hunt down those less fortunate for sport. While some mysterious government factions target the rest because they feel people aren't killing enough. Indeed, this film paints a very dark perception of humanity's future.
Sadly, that's not to say this film isn't without it's flaws though. In spite of the acting being decent, some of the characters aren't written particularly well. Sure, you have the mother and daughter tandem that seems rather interesting with their personal woes, and you have a bada** mercenary that seems to have an interesting backstory. However, the ones I'm mostly referring to are the married couple that's contemplating divorce right before the purge begins.
Throughout the film, it's never explained why the couple wants to get divorced, nor is it ever stated why the hell would they want to talk about something like that, while trying to find someplace safe to hide before the "purge" begins." I mean common sense would probably dictate talking about crap like that should probably take a backseat, when it comes to that particular situation. And unlike the other characters, the married couple tends to get in the way of the group's overall survival; particularly the husband, who acts more like the dumbass of the group. But then again, I guess you need the dumbass for a horror flick to work.
(Warning: Next Paragraph contains mild spoilers for both "The Purge" and "The Purge Anarchy")
Another problem with this film is that it ends almost exactly the same damn way, as the previous one when you look at them both objectively. Both go out of their ways to show the horrors and sinister nature of humanity, but they both end on an uplifting note, where the protagonist has a chance to get revenge against someone that wronged them. However, they don't take advantage of it, in order to show that as much darkness that humanity is capable of that we also have the capability to do good as well. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't expand on the world that we were given from the first one. Rather, we're just shown almost the exact same kind of story, but told on a more massive scale that utilizes the concept more.
While I wouldn't call "The Purge: Anarchy" to be among one of greatest movies out there, it's certainly an interesting story to say the least that features a unique concept. If you're into slasher horror flicks, or you liked the first one, then you'll definitely like this one okay. Definitely worth checking out in theaters if you haven't already.
© 2014 Steven Escareno
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