Friday Features: 'The Purge: Anarchy' review

Friday Features: 'The Purge: Anarchy' review

Credit: Blumhouse Productions

The Purge: Anarchy, the sequel to summer 2013’s sleeper hit that opened to No. 1 at the box-office, sees the return of writer/director James DeMonaco to craft the next terrifying chapter of dutiful citizens preparing for their country’s yearly 12 hours of anarchy.

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by HAYDEN PITTMAN

WFAA Special Contributor

Posted on July 18, 2014 at 12:43 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 18 at 1:20 AM

"The Purge: Anarchy" is a violent, intense, startling presentation that depicts a futuristic version of America that allows its citizens one night to police themselves and do whatever they want without the fear of punishment. A sequel to the 2013 thriller, "The Purge," this film once again visits the idea of an annual 12-hour Purge sanctioned by the government to insure that crime stays below one percent each year. Featuring new characters and a fresh story using the same concept, “Anarchy” gives audiences the experience of being out on the streets during the Purge and shows what happens when the less fortunate cannot always protect him or herself.

In the first film, we are presented with a wealthy family who has the luxury of using an advanced security system to stay safe during Purge night. When their security system is compromised, and they are presented with a moral dilemma that may create major consequences for their family, they are held hostage and must survive throughout the night without doing the very same violent actions they are trying to avoid.

In “Anarchy,” the film returns to the hazardous world created in the first film and places audiences outside on the streets during the Purge. This sequel follows a random group of less fortunate or unlucky citizens who are caught outside and must protect and push each other to the max to survive the dangerous night. More specifically, this installment shows the viewpoint of lower-income people who can’t afford security systems to protect themselves during the Purge.

Stuck with the same problem and looking for safe shelter, these diverse characters have to trust each other to stay alive, even if that means fighting back against the Purge. At times, the film feels like a zombie or end-of-the-world type movie where groups of people try to stay alive against all odds. They encounter one chaotic or life-threatening experience after another and almost always find a way out, but not without casualties.

“Anarchy” appears to be much more aggressive, brutal, and gets straight into the murder, assault/rape, looting, and attacking people’s homes that are part of the annual event. Assailants use various weapons like guns, bats, swords, explosives, vehicles, or even a flame thrower to “purge” themselves of violent intentions. The first film seems to be more centralized around a single, wealthy family, and although it creates the original idea, it hasn’t yet reached the full potential of what happens to varied groups of people during the Purge. Both films are extremely thought provoking, as you constantly ask yourself, what would you do on Purge night?

With a new government instituting this annual night, there are mixed emotions as to whom this actually benefits. The NFA, the New Founders of America, think that the Purge helps allow those with bad thoughts, stress, anxiety, anger, etc., to release some of those feelings, while those who cannot protect themselves don’t think it’s fair and believe that it targets the poor. The film expands on the notion that the rich are not only able to stay safe, but also using the corrupt and gang-related thugs to snatch up citizens for their own private, secure pleasures. Eventually, those who continue to get hurt, killed, or oppressed, begin to rise up, fight back, and take a stand to help people.

Overall, I think this concept is very interesting, brings a lot of questions to light, and says much about our society. Everyone has impulses, urges, and the need for some form of release. "The Purge: Anarchy" takes these relatable feelings and allows us to imagine what it would be like if we could go out and exercise revenge or retaliation for circumstances in our life. From anguish over a cheating spouse or grieving for a lost loved one, there are endless reasons why somebody would do unlawful acts out of remorse or retribution. However, as much as we might understand these actions, that doesn’t mean it’s neither right nor is there any excuse for it.

Thankfully, we're still a long way from a real-life Purge night, so in the meantime, if you enjoyed the first film or like watching bloody, violent, creepy presentations, then go check out "The Purge: Anarchy" in theaters this weekend. It’s almost undoubtedly better than its predecessor.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars

"The Purge: Anarchy" is rated R for strong disturbing violence, and for language. Running time is 1 hour and 43 minutes. This film features Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Michael K. Williams, Jack Conley, and more.


Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. For more of his reviews on WFAA, click here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and when not writing reviews or covering an event, he works in film production. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at haydenp@youplusmedia.com or follow him on Twitter at @HPMoviePitt.

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