The Purge: Anarchy (2014) Directed by James DeMonaco. Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford . IMDB says: “A couple are driving home to their kids when their car runs out of gas just as the Purge commences. Meanwhile, a police sergeant goes out into the streets to get revenge on the man who killed his son, and a mother and daughter run from their home after assailants destroy it. The five people meet up as they attempt to survive the night in Los Angeles.”
So first things first, I’ve never seen the first Purge film. I heard mixed reviews from my fellow podcasters and other blogs, but my general impression is that it was an enjoyable film with some flaws. That being said, I went into this not expecting a ton but something fun to watch. Largely, that is what I got out of this.
The same premise as The Purge follows, one night a year when any crimes are legal. The film opens with three distinct storylines that will eventually merge into one narrative. There is a young waitress with a child and a father who lock themselves up in their home and take what precautions they typically do. There is a young couple who are tackling some last minute errands before they drive out of the city to protect themselves. The final character is something of a road warrior, a bit mysterious, but he is the only one who actively wants to participate in the Purge.
Fate brings all of these characters together while at the same time building a story of government oppression. At some point during the film you feel the tide turn from these 5 folks versus the purgers to the people versus the government. Of course the continuing theme of good versus evil and morality in general reigns supreme. There are some pretty complex themes at work and you get the sense that film is trying really hard to be taken seriously and to present a societal issue. I do believe this film falls short of this goal.
All of the being said, the film was a fun watch. A lot of the elements worked really well together. The acting was solid, the cinematography was well thought out. There really aren’t a ton of things to pick apart with this film. I suppose my biggest gripe is that I just didn’t find it particularly scary. To me, this is more of an action film and maybe a thriller than a horror film. There were a couple of jump scares and elements that could maybe be considered dark, but overall I appreciated the action more than the horror aspect.
Overall, this is a really solid film that works especially well if you don’t think about it too much and don’t take it too seriously. I think there is definitely a rewatchability factor here and the potential exists for Universal to turn this into a franchise. We could be seeing the birth of the next Saw-type franchise.
OVERALL SCORE: 74%