The Purge: Anarchy–Movie Review!

Social/political commentary can be a tricky thing to explore in movies. Done with some skill, horror can be the perfect genre to explore it. They tend to “get away” with more within the safe confines of a genre movie. The first Purge movie was a terrific premise in search of a movie. It was an instant hit, while becoming almost universally hated by audiences who felt they were victims of an elaborate bait and switch. The Purge was basically a home invasion thriller with a cool, sci-fi premise used at times, as little more than window dressing. The Purge: Anarchy blessed with a bigger budget and a sharper (but still broad) commentary, remedies many of the issues viewers had with the first movie. The concept is simplicity itself. All crime in the near-future (including murder) is legal for 12 hours once a year. This has caused crime to become almost non-existent during the rest of the year. Anarchy is an “open-world” look at The Purge and a band of survivors trying to survive the night downtown.

A brooding man with no name who is out to purge after a tragic loss (played well by Frank Grillo) saves a mother and daughter from being killed as well as a yuppie couple as they band together on the run from roving gangs picking up (and picking off) poor and working class people off the streets to be hunted by evil, rich White people. The multi-cultural 99 percent versus the cartoonish and nasty ultra-rich 1 percent. The rich are such cowards that they “hunt” in safe zones and don’t even have to leave their lavish homes in some cases. This brings to mind hunters who pay to hunt animals running around in a confined space. Not too sporting, if you ask me. All the dirty work is done for them and if there’s any doubt where the director’s sympathy lies, the bloody, hanged Wall Street broker (holding a sign confessing to the pension funds he stole) who ruined the lives of countless working people is a symbol for the overall message of the movie. Writer/director James DeMonaco has no sympathy for the rich vampires that live off the labor of society’s working people. This is one of the most angry, left-wing mainstream movies in some time.

The Purge: Anarchy is more of an action thriller than a horror movie, and its a very entertaining one at that. A major improvement over the first film, it does a much better job with its provocative premise while the pacing is quick and the violence is plentiful. Anarchy isn’t a movie for everyone and it can get silly at times (the auction scene is over the top) but its an entertaining roller coaster ride. Sign me up for the next annual Purge. Judging from the early box office numbers, a new horror franchise is born.

Grade: B

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