Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
On an allocated date once a year between 7pm and 7am, all crime is legal. The authorities shut down for twelve hours to allow the general public to ‘purge’ their souls. Staying off the streets is essential if you want to survive..
Unfortunately for young couple Shane and Liz this won’t be so easy. Whilst on their way home, their car breaks down and stops in the middle of a motorway.
It is 18:47pm. Shane and Liz won’t be making it home before the annual Purge begins.
But will they survive the night?…
Frank Grillo – Leo Barnes
Carmen Ejogo – Eva Sanchez
Zoë Soul – Cali Sanchez
Zach Gilford – Shane
Kiele Sanchez – Liz
Justina Machado – Tanya
John Beasley – Papa Rico
The Purge: Anarchy was – compared to its predecessor – fantastic. And unlike the first installment, we got a delicious dollop of dread-drenched bloody action every few minutes. There were more characters, more panic, plenty of street action (purging), and best of all – the effects of the Purge shown from the perspective of various characters. This was the best element; watching how different personalities deal with this one night of violent behaviour. Young teenagers slicing their victims up just because they can, a father who offers himself to a family of purgers so that his children no longer endure his long-term illness, even a theater of exquisite wealthy socialites who attend a bidding auction for randomly selected victims – it’s all go. And 100% more interesting than watching a game of hide & seek (I am far from racist, but made a little more difficult with a black man in a dark house) whilst a smiley dude hangs around on the doorstep (yes I’m referring to The Purge).
I can state for a fact that this movie outdid the first by miles and the first should have been the sequel, vice versa. This is where the creators went wrong – releasing sparklers first and then fireworks later. They should have come in and smacked audiences with this shocker, before rounding it off with something lighter (the first one). Other than this flaw, The Purge: Anarchy was one of my favourite movies of this year.
The feeling of dread these movies create is crucial – and is what really adds to the tension. That classic inevitable feeling, a sense of impending terror that is about to kick off but there’s nothing you can do about it – it’s coming for you, and you can’t stop it.
This movie nailed it.
At the beginning of The Purge: Anarchy we see Eva at work – as a waitress in a restaurant. Her boss suddenly announces that everyone should start making their way home, before commencement. Eva and her colleagues leave, and she returns home and begins setting up ‘lockdown’ with her daughter. The clock is ticking..
A robotic, crackling noise (like inteference on a radio) suddenly pierces the air. Eva and her daughter sit staring wide-eyed at their television. Next comes the television announcement – broadcast around the country on a bright blue screen as an emotionless woman’s voice reads out the rules of the night’s activity.
A heavy, dull tone of dread that blares out from speakers all around the country. This siren sends a shiver down my spine; it’s basically the government saying, “you’re on your own”. Then when the siren comes to a stop, and silence follows.. BANG – right there. That’s the second the feeling of dread becomes sheer tension as the characters sit waiting, wondering. The emergency broadcast screen with its display of written warning and loud siren are effective, simple. The eerie siren is the barrier between safe and danger – before it begins, you’re on the right side of it. When it has finished, you’re on the wrong side and vulernable. It is a very important element of the movie and adds a sinister streak of anticipation.
The Purge: Anarchy reminded me very much of 2007 hit 28 Weeks Later.
A handful of people stumbling through deserted city streets, vast birds-eye views of tall buildings and other architecture, victims ducking and diving their way around the streets as crazed predators home in on them.. the tension that radiated from the screen was very enjoyable. I actually found myself vocalising certain things during the more violent scenes. Should you have been so honoured as to sit near me in the auditorium, you may have heard words such as, “whoa”, “fuck me”, and “ouch” – I have such a varied vocabulary.
But seriously, this movie delivers as much intense panic and fear as it can without going over the top, whilst sticking to the characters and their stories. Each person in the surviving group has their own issue, but these are not played on too much. On the contrary, you discover who each person is and their background but that’s it – the movie continues. No drawn-out dialogue, no staggered scenes, just the group of them trying to make it to safety.
The auction scene has to be my favourite. It was the most wickedly sinister plot in the whole movie, apart from the purging itself of course. An unfortunate turn of events leads the band of survivors into the hands of beefy men who force them onto a wooden floor in front of a curtain. The curtain rises, and it suddenly becomes apparent they are on display before a room of applauding rich people.
Yes – these twisted posh people are willing to spend thousands – to win a person to purge on. Crazy! And another film reference here as I was instantly reminded of Hostel; a film which genuinely scared me due to its highly plausible concept, drenched in gruesome acts of selfishness and violence. Wealthy, smart, successful members of the public who seem to lead ordinary lives – yet in private, take part in activities that bring out their dark side. Their posture and politeness remaining intact like sinister smiley robots.
Needless to say, I revelled in this scene – but was surprised to discover it was far from over. Because the wrinkled old rich lady presenting the auction suddenly announced ‘The Hunting Ground’ and how wonderful the bidders selection of weapons were..
The subsequent scene had me biting my bottom lip so hard, my teeth almost went right through it. I loved every second of this part – the tension, split-second decision making, the tricks, the confrontations.. it was excellent to watch. Literally edge-of-your-seat stuff.
Imagine it’s October 31st, roughly 6.30pm. The streets begin to get busy with people dressed in wacky costumes as they go prowling for candy from innocent strangers. Now turn it upside down and replace the candy with blood, the patriotic spirit with murderous rage, and switch the witches broom with a machete.
This is how I would describe The Purge: Anarchy. It is quite literally a fucked-up ‘trick or treat’ night involving vulgar make-up, costumes and instruments of death.
Some scenes genuinely made me feel uneasy (which I enjoyed). For example, a gang of young adults march down the street in blank white masks carrying blades that would make a butcher wince, and are suddenly complemented by their back-up van which comes screeching round the corner. A group of tough bully boys swagger across Route 101 with massive rotwetiller dogs on chains, scanning the area for flesh. A singular woman stands on the roof of her building yelling through a megaphone whilst firing off rounds through her machine gun.
And just you wait for the gentleman situated in the back of his moving truck – it’s a shocker…
The atmosphere is terrifying, but this is what keeps the movie flowing at a great pace. It is panicked danger with a dash of excitement, resulting in an adrenaline rush. And having the lead characters constantly on their feet rounds it off superbly.
As I said, Purge night is like an alternative ‘Trick or Treat’ – only many people would rather avoid this one.
Oh, and what is it with the Carrie understudy?..
During one scene, Leo drives his fellow victims through the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. On their way to safety, they pass a woman standing on the side of the road – she is covered head to toe in blood and stares at them intently as they roll past. “Carrie” was my immediate reaction. The woman looks exactly like the telekenetic movie character – the Chloë Grace Moretz version. She even has the same styled hair & blood-spattered dress.
See if you can spot what I mean.
My first reaction to a movie with a concept such as this is, ‘thank god these sorts of events don’t actually exist’.
I was actually reminded of the London riots (August 2011) which kicked off after a man was shot dead by police in North London. The event sparked outrage which exploded into riots country-wide, but London was where it began; burning buildings, attacks on Police, looting from stores that had been smashed up & destroyed.. it was utter carnage.
But imagine if that stuff was legal for one night! Wow. I would shit a brick. I’ve met rough enough people in Soho on a Friday afternoon, I couldn’t imagine the boys and girls coming out to play on a night like that. I must say though, my top hiding place to wait it out woud be in the actual Thames. Yes, in the water.
People purging would probably be prowling the streets of Finsbury or marching along Westminster Bridge, so if I was trapped outdoors in the City I’d lower myself into the Thames and bob along the water silently until morning (this way I could duck under the water should purgers appear along the bank).
Let it be known I am a resourceful lad.
The government siren sounds again at exactly 07:00am to conclude the annual Purge. It marks the end of all illegal activity.
This is something we never got with The Purge – the transition between fear and relief. The first movie just seemed to fade out with the camera focused (strangely) on the backs of the mother and her two children. With The Purge: Anarchy you get a nice taste of the world returning to normal. It’s a proper ‘time’s up’ scenario at the end, with the first few bits of traffic starting to appear. This movie nails the element of beginning, middle, end.
You get a build-up, anticipation.
The siren, the dread.
Thrilling fast-paced action and panic.
Then the closing siren which brings a sigh of relief as the survivors move from being targets to being safe. Director James DeMonaco is to be applauded for his efforts.
..oh, okay I guess this wouldn’t be a review of mine without a heartfelt opinion, so here you are:
Why do purgers stop shooting at the blare of the first siren at exactly 7am?
The authorities probably won’t find them, and if the Police are out before 7am (06:58, 06:59, etc.) they’d get popped by the purgers, no?
Just an observation.
When The Purge was released back in 2013, I was confused – because what entered Hollywood as one of the most fantastic concepts I’ve ever seen, resulted in a boring movie centered around a giant game of Hide & Seek.
I was anticipating the arrival of the second movie, wondering if it would offer more action, etc. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The Purge: Anarchy outdid its first movie massively; this time the history of the Founding Fathers plan to make a better country is examined, the reasons behind the annual Purge and what makes different people take part are discovered, but the winning element is the terrifying situation of everyday people entering areas of their own city where ANYTHING can happen to them..
The Purge: Anarchy grasps a brilliantly sinister concept and gift-wraps it in dread, panic and fear – three emotions which stir up the adrenlaine perfectly as the movie progresses.
If you enjoyed the first movie, I would strongly urge you to give this one a go. But more importantly if you haven’t seen the first movie: pretend it doesn’t exist, sit back and enjoy. Because the beauty of this movie is that it’s not linked to anyone from the first, and if anything the plot is explained clearly before throwing you straight into the bloody action.
“blessed be our New Founding Fathers for letting us purge and cleanse our souls. Blessed be America, a nation reborn.”