The Purge franchise is a film series that is built around a confusing yet interesting premise, what if once a year we were given a night to do whatever we wanted. The first film focused on one family trying to protect their home from a group of Purgers trying to break in. It played out in a similar fashion to films like The Strangers, Vacancy, and You’re Next. Despite its interesting premise, the world was never fully explored and that was my problem with the original film. But the latest film takes the bottleneck view of the first film and expands it to great effect.
When it comes to horror movies I have this bad habit about putting myself in the film and trying to figure out what I would do in the lead characters place. Usually I get frustrated and yell at the movie screen because the characters are too dumb to survive and end up doing something stupid that gets them killed. Anarchy, however, is probably the first thriller I’ve seen in a long time where the characters do what I would have done in their place and some of them still die, which is a sign of a smart script.
There are a lot of holes you can poke in the premise of the film; specifically with how a government would allow this to happen but you have to kind of just go with it to enjoy the film. The premise might be ridiculous but what the people do in those situations is realistic and grounds the film in reality. My major problems with the premise have more to do with how there are no rules during the purge. You can pretty much just break into someone’s house or set everyone’s house on fire. If you don’t want to participate in the purge then you’d think that you could just sit it out safely in your home every year but I guess that would defeat the purpose of the Purge. What I would do every year if the purge were real is just go on vacation to another country, because the purge seems to only be an American tradition in the films. This is what I mean by not thinking of the premise to hard or you’ll hurt yourself.
Anarchy begins a few hours before the Purge is set to begin and we are introduced to the major players sporadically. Eva is a waitress trying to care for her daughter Cali, Shane and Liz are married couple heading to divorce, and Sergeant is out for revenge. It’s interesting to see how people in the streets deal with the Purge in the coming hours. Some people try to deal their services in the form of protection, others continue to work until the last possible second, and some people are walking around in their purging outfits just waiting for the fun to begin. We only get briefly acquainted with the leads before the Purge gets underway.
Shane and Liz should have called AAA.
When the purging alarms go off Eva and Cali are home safe, Shane and Liz are stuck in the streets after their car breaks down, and Sergeant jumps into his muscle car to try and get some revenge. Anarchy reigns supreme as purging gets off to shocking start. People take to the streets and kill each other with all kinds of different weapons and strategies. This is what I wanted to see in the original film, how the majority of people cause chaos. Some people stake out on rooftops with a six-pack and a sniper, others are tactical and work in teams, and some are just going insane. It’s all incredibly brutal so be prepared to cover your eyes.
From left to right: Sergeant, Cali, Eva, Liz, and Shane.
The main characters are brought together by chance shortly after the alarms sound off. Aside from Sergeant, no one else in the group is equipped to survive the night and they all pretty much stick to him in order to stay alive. Sergeant is on a mission to kill the drunk driver that killed his son earlier that year but he’s side tracked by trying to save the innocent group he finds himself in. The longer they survive through the night the crazier the people they come across get. A gang of young hoodlums and a militant group are also chasing them, and that gives the film a “Warriors” feel to it. The motivations as to why the two gangs are chasing them aren’t revealed until the end but it’s a satisfying reveal.
The rich are once again represented in the film like they were in the original but they’re portrayed in a more sadistic way. One of the best set pieces of the film comes after Sergeant and the group are auctioned off to a room full of rich people in order to be (Spoilers) hunted for sport. In many ways the rich are even more brutal then the people who take to the streets because they usually give themselves an unfair advantage, which makes it even more satisfying when they are dealt with.
The climax of the film is a bit underwhelming, Sergeant essentially has to choose to either get his revenge or allow his sons killer to live. I won’t divulge what happens but its both parts satisfying and believable but compared to the rest of the films it’s anticlimactic. That aside the film is a wild ride. The script, which was written and directed by James DeMonaco, is fast paced and thrilling. The film is more mayhem and destruction then character development or plot, so at the end of the day just enjoy the ride and try to survive through the night.
The Purge: Anarchy follows the same premise of its original but expands on the world to great effect. The sequel shows a city in utter chaos, and introduces us to several new characters as well as several new groups of sadistic purgers. The film is twice as brutal and thrilling as its predecessor, and will leave you anxiously awaiting next years purge.
The Purge: Anarchy 8.5 out of 10 (Thrilling)
- Better then the original
- Gripping and scary
- Expanded Purge
- The characters are smart
- The end is bit anticlimactic
- There are still too many holes in the premise