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The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy - Two Reviews, One Stone
A good horror film is only as good as its actors. The performances need to be authentic and believable. The story needs to be good and it needs to be a subject that is truly frightening. The Purge films accomplish that with flying colors. The thing that makes the Purge movies so effective is the fact that, not only do people already kill because they want to or because of vengeance, but also because an Annual Purge night actually being established isn't all that difficult to believe.
The first film focuses on a family of four. The father, James (played by Ethan Hawke), works for a company that just invented a new type of security system that they believe will hold up against any attempted invaders. But what James didn't count on was the fact that, if someone wants to kill badly enough, he'll do what he has to do to get to that person.
James' young son Charlie heard a scream from an injured man outside. Seeing that the man wasn't armed, he opened the security door long enough for the man to get inside. Little did he know, a gang had been tracking the man, and the trail led right to James' home.
The acting felt real, as did the events that happened in the film. Several times, I was so into the film that I felt like I was there in the house with them, trying to figure out what to do next. It was intense and in-your-face, just like a horror film should be.
The Purge: Anarchy
The second film goes deeper into the meaning of the Purge. Why was it started in the first place? Who started it? We don't know for sure, but what we do find out is that the rich and the politicians profit from the Purge in probably the sickest way imaginable.
As I watched this film, all I could do was think "You know, I wouldn't put it past most politicians to actually do this." And, of course, we had our main focus as well on a family trying to survive, being guided through the streets by none other than Frank Grillo. Frank plays Sergeant Leo Barnes, who wants to Purge by killing the man who ran over his son and drove away.
With every establishment, you have a rebellion group trying to overthrow it. In this case, the rebellion group is trying to do the right thing and stop the Purge from ever happening again. This rebellion is led by Carmelo, played by Michael K. Williams. He believes in taking a stand, no matter what the cost, and his followers would gladly die for him and their cause.
The acting was just as good as the first, but it wasn't as engrossing as the first. Perhaps it was the director or the story, but it felt more like a "dystopian future" thriller rather than something that could happen. Perhaps that was the idea: to make you think it won't happen so that it can happen.
Which of the first two Purge films did you like better?
© 2016 Alec Zander