James DeMonaco’s sequel The Purge: Anarchy offers some interesting ideas, like its predecessor. It is a shame that these are not executed as effectively as they could be however.
The annual night of the purge is about to commence, and most citizens are rushing home to barricade themselves against intruders. When a few innocents unwittingly find themselves on the streets after sunset, it is up to a mysterious stranger to help them survive…
The Purge: Anarchy follows the same format of its predecessor, confining action to a single day of the purge. The sequel deviates by focusing on a few disparate pairs. Rather than the wealthy family of the first film, The Purge: Anarchy focuses on less well-off characters.
The distinction between rich and poor was a key theme of The Purge. This dynamic takes centre stage in the sequel. The ideas here are adequate enough; it is a pity that some of them remain underdeveloped, whilst others are not really executed in a satisfying fashion.
Characters in The Purge: Anarchy are not really developed enough for viewers to become invested in their fates. The exception to this is Frank Grillo’s character, who retains some mystery. Other main characters have little to give them colour. To begin with, the snippets of information present an edge of mystery. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, it becomes clear that they are simply one dimensional.
The Purge: Anarchy presents its viewers with some apparently shocking situations. Violence is frequent, yet some of these incidents are not as affecting as writer-director James DeMonaco may have hoped. The set-ups are fine, but sometimes an understated approach would have had more of an effect. The film is rather clear on its opinion of violence. Yet, it does not shy away from gratuitous scenes.
Pacing in the film is good, and performances are adequate. The downside to The Purge: Anarchy is that some good ideas are not developed into memorable viewing.