The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

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You must hate it when good ideas are poorly executed. I know that I do and that’s exactly how I feel about the first The Purge film, which introduced a wonderfully twisted idea that could pan out really well. Instead, the opposite happened and the film suffered from a generic story that I could care less about. Why didn’t we ever get an origin story for the Purge? Am I the only one who would want to see how the new founding fathers brought the purge into effect, the public’s reactions, and what happened during the first purge? It’d say a lot about someone’s reluctant, or monstrous nature. I guess that’s just sane and wishful thinking. Who cares about all that, let’s just focus on home invasion and survival stories!

Sergeant is prepping for the night.
Sergeant is prepping for the night.

Every year for 12 hours, all crime is legal in America, including murder. The new founding fathers started the Purge in order to reduce crime rates throughout the year and it’s working. The poverty rates are down and everything is going swimmingly, at least we think. An anarchist group believes that the wealthy are using the Purge to kill off the poor, in order to get their fix and have more space in the country. With tensions rising, the latest purge is set to be an interesting one, which is why couple Shane and Liz (Zach Gilford & Kiele Sanchez) are racing home before the purge starts. At the same time, mother and daughter Eva and Cali (Carmen Ejogo & Zoe Soul) are prepping to defend their sleeping father. Alternatively, Sergeant (Frank Grillo) is gearing up to go out and Purge.

While driving home, Shane and Liz’s car breaks down (of course) and a group of Purger’s chases them through the city. Eva and Cali are forcefully dragged out of their house and almost killed, only to be saved by a reluctant Sergeant. During this chance meetup, Shane and Liz also run into the three of them and they become a group of sorts. Their goal is to survive the night by any means necessary and they all have their own agendas. Throughout the night, the group sees odd things that could link to the anarchists, or even a government program that’s intervening in the annual purges.

Apparently, this is supposed to be scary?
Apparently, this is supposed to be scary?

The Purge: Anarchy is the follow-up to a film with one of the most refreshing concepts, that sabotaged itself with poor execution. Imagine a world where crime is legal for 12 hours? We’re told it helps lower crime and poverty each year, but you have to know there’s a catch. This film smartly explores some of the concept in greater depth and we get to see some revenge and action that far exceeds its predecessor (though, it’s all sorts of corny).

As mentioned, this franchise (which it’s sure to become) has a unique and sick plot that adds a lot of intrigue for anyone, I would think. We all have thoughts about what we’d do without laws and this film piggybacks on that idea by combining those who want to Purge and those who don’t. Certain motivations distinguish the two, but it’s a night that calls for survival by any means necessary. The essence of human nature takes a large role in this film that shows people being brutally murdered, as many turn their head and move on. News reporters are so cavalier when it comes to wishing people good luck with safety and good look with purging. It’s a wacky world and it’s lightly touched upon, which was pretty cool.

This isn't a low-res image... That's what the actual shot in the movie looked like...
This isn’t a low-res image… That’s what the actual shot in the movie looked like…

So, this film is billed as a horror film, implying that it’s going to be scary. The first one was scary, but only because it relied heavily on jump scares. This film, however, only has a few jump scares and then it turns into a survivalist film (much like the first turned into a home invasion film). I don’t get how they can ruin a great idea twice in a row! This film has some promise and you think that you’re going to watch people get hunted in the dead of night, but nope. It’s a “let’s survive together” type venture with a reluctant lead character and an obnoxious supporting character. I laughed a few times, but I had no earthly idea how anyone could call this a horror film.

The anarchy in “The Purge: Anarchy”, comes from a revolutionary group that wants to stop the rich from killing off the poor. Now, politics aside, I can buy this as a viable plot for a film and would be interested in seeing how the two groups fight during the purge. I mean, there’s 12 hours to kill whomever and on top of that, it’s night-time and the wealthy have the upper-hand. This film could have explored the revolutionaries and the evidence that they had, but we only catch glimpses of them because the film sets up yet another sequel. It’s just lazy film making, especially one certain camera that looked like the director was using a flip phone from 2004.

Can this band of misfits survive the night?
Can this band of misfits survive the night?

If you’re going to include scenes and subplots that involve the wealthy paying for poor people to be rounded up for a hunting game, at least have the decency to explore why this is a thing and don’t act to nonchalant about it all. All wealthy people seem totally fine with killing the poor in the most insane of ways and they have no emotion at all. They’re all mindless drones and this is just kind of accepted by everyone in this world. Worse than that, this film relies so heavily on the third-person-shooter that saves our heroes at every bad moment. This film gets absurdly predictable after a while and just when you think they’re going to take the film in an interesting direction, the filmmakers decide that we needed to see more of what we saw earlier.

I’m sick and tired of being one of the few that seems to dislike the Purge films. I can understand liking the first on a strictly scared basis, but it, nor its sequel do anything with their outstanding premises. We are stuck with people whom we could care less about and are forced to watch them try to survive until the purge end. I want to spend some time from a menacing Purger’s point-of-view, where he stalks his victims Michael Meyer’s style. Plus, we only get to see the big cities and large estates in the nicest parts of town. Everyone knows that the best REAL horror films take place in small neighborhoods, or out in the country. So, Purge filmmakers, get to work on something that’s not stupid and repetitive and actually makes me scared. That’s all I ask.

The Purge: Anarchy Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzFCDqKE4yA

2 STARS!!!

2 / 5 stars     

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