The Purge: Anarchy (2014) Review

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The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Directed by James DeMonaco

Starring:
Frank Grillo
Carmen Ejogo
Zach Gilford
Kiele Sanchez
Michael K. Williams

Running time: 103 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
Three groups of people are trying to survive Purge Night, when their stories intertwine and they are left stranded in The Purge trying to survive the chaos and violence that occurs.

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My Opinion:

I’ll be honest – I liked the first The Purge and my opinion wasn’t all that popular when I reviewed it (review HERE). Well, my opinion of it has actually gone up since then (I gave it a 6.5/10 & said it was almost a 7/10). I remember I later reviewed You’re Next (HERE) and annoyed a few people when I declared that I preferred The Purge to You’re Next (and I stand by my opinion). Is The Purge: Anarchy better than the first Purge film? It would certainly seem so as it did better at the box office (I believe) and has a much higher IMDB rating. Well, it’s not better! The first was better! IMDB users confuse me these days. This wasn’t horrible or anything – it was okay as far as sequels go but it was just a bit “what’s the point?”.

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I found it interesting that this movie didn’t have any well known actors in it. I prefer that sometimes, especially with movies like these as I think it’s easier to buy into an original sort of concept such as this one when you don’t end up sitting there thinking “It’s Ethan Hawke!” the whole time. Having said that, though, I think the first film still did a slightly better job of making its point than the sequel did. However, both films left me disappointed as neither one really explored all the moral implications involved in having one night a year in which all crime, including murder, is legal. This was my main complaint about the first film – GREAT concept but not that well executed. When I heard there would be a sequel, I knew it would go one of two ways: it would either be a more intelligent film than the first one & would aim to be more “thriller” than horror or it would decide to up the violence and be more of a horror movie with more action & even less exploration of the effects on America of having an annual “Purge” night. Then Michael Bay’s name was attached to it & I was like “Shit!”.

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Luckily, The Purge: Anarchy isn’t a total Michael Bay disaster (he was only a producer so I don’t know if he actually had much involvement). They did up the action compared to the first one and there were more characters & storylines going on as the first film focused just on one home invasion whereas this one focused on a group of people caught outside on Purge night. Anarchy also added a Saw/Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like character that felt a little silly and it shoved the “rich vs poor” thing down our throats WAY too much. I was disappointed with the message being so heavy handed in this one and I still feel like they need to try one more time to take this idea & do it properly. There’s so much wasted potential with both these films! Since the first movie was about one family & the second was about a small group of people in one city, it would be good if the third one could show us the effects the Purge has had on all of America further down the line (I could be wrong but I think these two films are set only a year apart). Yeah? Someone give me some money – I want to make the third film myself!

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Summary:

The Purge: Anarchy is an okay film with a great concept. I still think the first film is superior as, although it had its flaws, it was more intense and worked as a somewhat scary home invasion movie (I thought it felt a lot like The Strangers, which I found genuinely creepy unlike the majority of modern horror films). The characters are a bit more likeable in the second film but the story is much more predictable (especially the final outcome for our main “hero”). The message is too in-your-face in that sort of “we’re assuming our target audience is dumb” kind of way that always annoys me. Neither Purge film comes close to living up to the potential of the simple yet brilliant idea of “America having an annual Purge Night” and the second film, although it tries much harder to make a point, does a poor job of it by simplifying the story too much and turning it into more of a social commentary on the current state of affairs in America as opposed to the future America portrayed in the film. But I suppose that is kind of the point as this is only set several years into the future and the America in these movies feels no different to the America of today (just as heavily armed but, for one night a year, you’re allowed to kill anyone you please). If I were to stop overthinking things, I’d have to say I think both these movies aren’t too bad & I liked them both (especially the first one – it’s a good home invasion movie at the very least). I just get frustrated by movies that have so much wasted potential and end up being a little more harsh on them than I would be on a big “popcorn blockbuster”. I still hope, if there’s a third film, that it aims more for the intelligent thriller genre than horror. These movies seem just a little too confused as to which genre and target audience they’re aiming for.

My Rating: 7/10

**Rating upped after watching the final film, The Purge: Election Year, as I think this is a very solid trilogy & the first two films have gone up even more in my estimation.

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**FYI – I went to Secret Cinema (Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back) in London last night. It was a fun experience! I’d not done a Secret Cinema before. I’ll try to get a post together about it soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

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30 thoughts on “The Purge: Anarchy (2014) Review

    • Oh good – I’m not alone! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah… I’m not sure what people were expecting with the first film. I think those who wanted pure horror were disappointed and those who wanted more of a sci-fi thriller were disappointed as it’s somewhere between the two. I appreciate what they’re trying to do with the films – just wish they’d get it “right”. But I enjoyed them both. ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. I actually enjoyed this one too. Great review Mutant!

    BTW, whats a secret cinema? does that mean u got to see Empire on the big screen??? if so, I’m VERY jealous ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    • Thanks! Glad you liked it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, Secret Cinema is much more than JUST seeing the film. But you may know more now if my guest reviewer from today went as well! That’s cool. Not had a chance to read his post yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Of course I wanna get the whole experience. …but just being able to get the chance to see any of the sextrilogy on the big screen again would be amazing enough

    • Yay! I’m glad to hear there are some other fans of these films. I’d definitely watch a third. I know they’re not perfect but they’re better than a lot of crap out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You’re welcome! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Yeah… The second one is still worth a watch if you liked the first one at all. Maybe they’ll get the third film right! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Great review ๐Ÿ™‚
    I watched this the other night, it’s ok but I agree the first is far better and much creepier.
    I didn’t like the character that was clearly trying to be Samuel L Jackson either, it’s like they wrote the part for him (especially that line where he shouts ‘motherfuckers’) and then failed to get him to play the part. That character was just laughable.

    P.S I’m so jealous that you went to secret cinema! I’d love to go! The tickets were just a bit too expensive for me at the moment ๐Ÿ˜ฆ maybe one year ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Lol – that’s exactly what the hubby & I said about that character. Like, “Oh, they couldn’t afford Samuel L Jackson”. Yeah, I think the first film is much better but the mainstream audience seems to disagree. :-/ Secret Cinema was so much fun! I really liked the sound of the Back to the Future one last year. I had to go since this one was Star Wars. Not had time to write about it yet. Hopefully Friday but if not I’ll post about it on Monday. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hmm… I just thought this one tried a little TOO hard & actually ended up over simplifying things. I still hope for a third film to finally do the overall concept justice. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I heard bad things about this movie so I never watched it but I liked the original enough that I think I’ll give it a try. I just have to keep my expectations low, haha! Great review! What’s Secret Cinema? Sounds exciting!

    • Thanks! It’s worth a watch if you liked the first. The concept is still there… I just think the first film is better. Secret Cinema is something they’ve been doing in London for a while where they recreate the movie in some way & then you go (and dress up if you want) and kind of experience the movie. Then at the end of it you watch the movie… This year they created Tatooine & actors dressed up like those from the film & re-enacted scenes. I’ll do a post about it soon! Friday or Monday at the latest – not had time yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • That sounds like such an amazing time!! I was thinking of The Purge though, and was thinking to myself, “I really wouldn’t want to reenact that one!” Haha! But that would be amazing. Excited to read your post on it.

  4. For me the whole concept of the Purge was wasted on a home invasion. That said, this movie conversely over-milked the themes and became fucking preachier than televangelists on bath salts. My two cents, anyway. It’s lovely to read a positive take on the original, though. I think it may have gotten a harder ride than it should have. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi my lovely Tom of Steel! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh man… I love the concept for these films so much but they keep fucking it up! Lol. I found the second far too preachy. The first wasn’t so bad but, yeah – in the end it just turned into a home invasion movie, which I didn’t want. Although, as far as home invasion movies go, The Purge was pretty good. Either way, it’s still better than Man Of Steel & Interstellar. Lol ๐Ÿ˜‰ *hugs!*

  5. Pingback: My Blog’s July 2016 Recap | Cinema Parrot Disco

  6. Definitely prefer this one to the first – I was impressed. I felt like The Purge was a great concept that pissed itself away on being a home invasion with an outside twist. This movie gave us more about the Purge – about being one of the regular dudes without a crap ton of money to lock yourself safely away with, that showed us what was cracking on the streets. Plus, Grillo was AMAZING here. My husband and I had a total and unexpected blast with this one.

    Definitely got me in the mood to see the next installment, if just to see how they will progress with the series.

    • Yeah, I can understand why people don’t like the first one as there was so much wasted potential but I just loved the concept so much (plus I love Hawke). I don’t think either film really “got it right”. There’s so much more to explore! The thought of a country having a “purge” is terrifying yet almost feels like a real possibility. I’m really looking forward to the next film since I really liked the first two more than others seemed to. Let’s hope it’s the best yet! (I have no idea – I’ve read no reviews…) : )

  7. Pingback: The Purge: Election Year (2016) Review | Cinema Parrot Disco

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