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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Movie Review: The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

The Purge: Anarchy
2014
Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford 
Genre: Dystopian Action Horror
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $111 million

Plot: 3 groups of people intertwine & are left stranded in the street on Purge night trying to survive the chaos & violence that occurs




'Second Purge Isn't Much Of A Splurge'

After the first Purge film earned $85 million on a $3 million budget, the makers couldn't resist and they cranked out several more helpings to the franchise. In return, the tone is far less mean-spirited and cynical despite lacking notable stars, with the original that had the home invasion Panic Room- theme and Ethan Hawke, it boosts slightly better characters in contrast to those in the previous outing which had a terrible family I didn't give two cents about. Problem is, they are just not fleshed out as much as they should be. There are made up of a mother and daughter, a young married couple and an army soldier. 

In this follow-up, the plot switches to the outside world, as writer/director James Defranco expands upon the concept in a more open manner. Taking place in 2023 one year after the events of the first film, where the US spirals out of control for the next 12 hours with lawlessness, anarchy, destruction helps stimulates the economy. Which sounds ridiculous, & yet does this make this to be a good film? Far from it, my answer to that is no. 

One major issue with the Purge movies, especially the first two entries, are the characters and cast: they are not well developed and I feel that these types of films could be boosted by one or two more established actors who could provide extra quality and bring more appeal to those roles. Demonaco's commentary and the message he is trying to put out is still not made abundantly clear, & neither is the Purge's logic: just what does it entail. There are discussions about class warfare and the oppressed, but these are never delved into or followed through in the way one expects. 

Frank Grillo is cool and he does well, but the rest of the cast just isn't worth pondering that much. The ensemble is so uninspiring and whose turns didn't win me over that like I mentioned, had it boosted more familiar and recognizable A-list faces it might have done this film some good. 

This film feels like and has a low budget, B-movie style and I appreciate that the filmmakers took on-board the criticism and problems which marred the first Purge and try to create a better sequel. Unfortunately, what we get is a story where 3 sets of extremely thin characters, who are in unison and it becomes almost like an Assault On Precinct 13 where they try and do battle. Any chances of genuine thrills and shocks are snuffed out by its B-movie approach that just isn't potent or extreme enough to give it that sense of threat and disturbance this Purge-thing intentionally poses. The original was nasty, brutal, but here it was so sterile and weak & the characters were poorly written and conceived; Purge: Anarchy has slightly likeable main characters, but the story lost its way as it went on and the violence and carnage never made a real impact. 

This should have been an opportunity to open up a can of worms & to delve into the possibilities that from a horror perspective The Purge hasn't managed to do; sadly, however, it just wasn't to be and with that, it felt, yet again, like this was a missed opportunity, not only for the film to come to life but to have characters and a cast that ooze quality in all areas. 





Final Verdict:

As I watched this, all I could think of was straight-to-DVD; I like it a little and no more and I see this being on the same level as the predecessor, only it feels sort of watered down and not as gritty as I'd expected. Much like with the first film, Anarchy builds up so much tension in the earlier half, but its execution in the story and characters has still not been perfected. 


For as long as The Purge continues this trend, it will continue to remain as a horror-wannabe with such great premise and intentions, and yet is of little substance & its final product remains thoroughly mediocre that just hasn't been polished enough. 



Overall:


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