I had the exclusive pleasure of checking out [The Purge: Anarchy](movie:995841) thanks to a connection to the film, and I can honestly say beyond any SHADOW of doubt that writer/director James DeMonaco has HEARD the fans complaints from the first movie and answered them beyond my wildest dreams.
To give you some brief context: the first movie, The Purge, was essentially a home invasion robbery with this “Purge” concept thrown on top. A solid 5/10 film. Needless to say every fan raised a ruckus screaming to actually see ‘The Purge’ in action.
Well, we asked for it, and we got it in SPADES.
As I mentioned earlier, this film, a sequel to the 2013 movie [The Purge](movie:765477) , explores the concept of an annual event where for 12 hours all crime is legal, from a different perspective. The perspective of those purging, caught outdoors.
We are immediately introduced to three groups on the eve of the Purge. There’s Sergeant Leo (Frank Grillo), a man set on seeking revenge for the murder of his son, a mother and daughter duo stuck in the slums, and Shane and Liz, a freshly divorced couple stranded when their car breaks down.
The movie itself takes place in Downtown LA (coincidentally where the movie was screened, which made leaving the theatre after dark a bit…eerie), where somehow the director managed to either clear the streets (something I’d deem next to impossible as a resident) or digitally empty them – either way, the image is immediately haunting. Once the purge begins, our three groups are miraculously thrust together, whereupon they are forced to survive together or die alone.
After banding together on the promise of a car for our main badass, Sergeant Leo, they push through the now post-apocalyptic streets of DTLA, through hellish scenario after hellish scenario, facing traps, snipers, masked lunatics and the wealthy insane (and insanely wealthy) while a group of Freedom Fighters does battle against the ‘rich bitches’ in rare and bloody fashion.
WOW. Between guttural curses and screams of “OH MY GOD” and “HOLY SHIT” I walked out of that theatre breathless and almost at a loss for words.
Which, if you know me, is saying a hell of a lot.
I knew that Director James DeMonaco would be bringing the fire this time around, as he had a lot to answer for, but I never expected him to bring it around so stunningly. On top of the brilliant direction and cinematography, there wasn’t really a weak link in the chain of actors – I found every one, even the super side roles, well delivered and completely believable.
Sitting pretty at a relatively standard run time of 103 minutes, it feels at least 3 hours long – and remarkably, that isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t that it dragged, not by a long shot – its that every groin clenching moment stands out from the one before it. Once the action kicks off, it is unrelenting, bringing new situations, people, and deaths every couple of scenes – it keeps you on the edge of your seat, tense, not wanting to rip your eyes away for even a second for fear you might miss something.
The last time I experienced something like this was [Gravity](movie:41913) , and for completely different reasons.
The Purge: Anarchy also does something unique, something I’ve only ever encountered in zombie films. It begs the question: what would you do? I found myself pondering different tactics – where I’d go, who I could trust, what weapons I’d use and would I be capable of ‘Purging’ myself?
All in all, [The Purge: Anarchy](movie:995841) is an intense, gripping, provocative and emotional rollercoaster well worth the price of admission. Discard any misgivings you have from the first film – the sequel burns away all doubt and replaces it with adrenaline filled glee.
TL;DR 9/10. The Purge: Anarchy presents us with a darker side of humanity and puts you in the shoes of the targeted, the desperate few praying for sunrise.
For more awesome reviews like this, check me out over at Horribly Hooched!