It's now July 18. Have you purged? After a "meh" first film and a push back on the release date for the sequel, The Purge:Anarchy really could have been a gigantic pile of doodie. Well, I am here to tell you that this second purge is worth your time.
Written and directed by James DeMonaco, The Purge:Anarchy is a fun summer treat. According to the film, a mere nine years from now the United States will be partaking in a yearly purge in order to keep peace the other 364 days of the year. This very simple premise is exactly what drew me to the first film and the sequel delivers on the premise even better than the original.
Not unusually, I was the oldest person in a sea of teens at this movie and I, actually, quite enjoy this. Despite their best intentions, they are not yet too cool to show emotion and become visibly affected by what is on the screen. Thankfully, I was sitting next to an exceptionally reactive young lady, so, this just added to the fun atmosphere of the film. She even freaked out and started yelling when she realized that I was "taking notes". Fun times, indeed.
You know the premise; for one night a year all crime is legal. So, the real question is this; who would you go after on the yearly purge? (Don't pretend that you haven't thought about this.) Our hero figure has one person on his mind and it is his driving force, but his good intentions derail him when he saves a mom and her daughter from a mysterious group of armed men. Played by Frank Grillo (The Grey, Minority Report) this unnamed man is a tall drink of water with some fantastic hair, a gruff voice and a take charge attitude. I would totally follow this guy to safety if I found myself out on the streets on purge night.
The group of masked hooligans that you have seen heavily promoted in the trailers sabotage the car of a nice couple who are navigating their separation while trying to get home in time to be safe from the purge. Played by Zac Gilford (Devils Due, Friday Night Lights) and Kiele Sanchez (The Perfect Getaway, The Glades) they seem a bit superfluous at times, but we need them so we can keep seeing the masked gang who pursues them which also allows for the third act to occur. Side note; someone, please, write a fantastic television show for Zac Gilford. All of the amazing work he did in Friday Night Lights is being wasted playing the token nice guy in horror films.
As with the first film, this movie really focuses on the financial disparity that, essentially, turns the lower class into an easy target for the upper class on purge night. Unfortunately, if you cannot afford the fancy protection when purge night comes around, you are an easy target. There are two interesting side stories added into this movie that really help to illustrate this, but it wouldn't be sweet to give everything away.
While I didn't appreciate the Jiminey Cricket attitude of one of the characters, I understand that it was necessary to keep the film in an entertaining and thought provoking place rather than it just turning into a cheap excuse for violence. So, while this movie isn't going to save the earth or take you to a deeply reflective place, it's an engaging horror film that makes you think. What would you do?