It’s that time of year again — that one time when it’s 12 hours of violent and corrupt madness. ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ hits theaters July 18 and critics have a lot to say about it.
The purge: a 12-hour period in which any and all crime is legalized. Could you imagine? Well, the wicked concept is put to the test in Joss DeMonaco‘s new sequel The Purge: Anarchy. Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zazh Gilford, and Kiele Sanchez team up for one epic horror film! If you’re on the fence about this nail-biting movie, read the critics’ reviews below.
‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Review Roundup
12 hours of fear, 12 hours of chaos, 12 hours of horror. All hospitals, fire stations and police stations are closed down for 12 hours — it’s your opportunity to fulfill any act of violence or crime you want.
A married couple named Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez), are driving home to their kids in Los Angeles to wait out the Purge when their car runs out of gas just as the madness begins. There’s no where to hide!
Critics loved the thrill and horror of it, and believed this sequel was much better than the original The Purge that came out in 2013.
The story has a welcome sense of continuous momentum, and what’s more, DeMonaco has a better handle on both his skewering of the entitled upper class (not as pointed as Paul Verhoeven’s ultraviolent satire, but a start) and the righteous anger of the targeted lower class (personified by Michael K. Williams’ resistance leader, Carmelo).
The Purge: Anarchy is a quick, cheap exploitation movie that intends to fill seats with promises of over-the-top violence. But it delivers something much more subversive and interesting. Billed as horror, it resembles social science fiction movies of the early ’70s such as The Omega Man, A Clockwork Orange, and Soylent Green. The sometimes clunky screenplay succeeds because writer/director James DeMonaco has the courage to drill down into the premise and ask not only how society would be reshaped by an annual orgy of violence, but who would benefit? The film doesn’t shy away from the question of class in late-stage capitalism — even before it starts crucifying stockbrokers — by introducing a revolutionary force led by the mysterious Carmelo (Michael K. Williams).
James DeMonaco’s The Purge was a meager home-invasion thriller gussied up with hints of dystopian sci-fi, in which a suburban family tried to fend off intruders in the midst of a government-sanctioned killing spree. Its more substantial sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, retains the original’s premise and politics, but actually puts them to use: Instead of limiting itself to a single location, the movie follows a group of characters as they try to cross an L.A.-like everycity, dodging masked machete-wielders, rich sport-killers, and government death squads along the way.
The Purge: Anarchy is a major improvement over the first film, truly expanding its world and using its premise as a mirror to our own insane society.
For all the philosophical and metaphorical shortcomings of his script, however, DeMonaco is an efficient orchestrator of action.
The script is filled with unnecessary characters, the story spends forever building to payoffs that sputter and die, and the hate-the-rich angle is so blunt that Occupy Wall Street would cry for more subtlety. But there’s an almost-camp quality to how DeMonaco takes this stupidity to greater heights, building a complex mythology around the plot like a giant moat around a pillow fort.
There’s a lot more purging going on in this inevitable sequel to last summer’s surprise horror hit The Purge. Expanding the parameters of the low-budget original by taking the action literally out into the streets, The Purge: Anarchy efficiently exploits its high-concept premise while delivering far more visceral thrills than its predecessor. Like it or not, a new franchise seems to have been born.
Have critics made up your mind, HollywoodLifers? Are you going to go out and see the new thriller-horror film? If you do, let us know what you think!
– Sammi Errico