A group of strangers come together to try to survive the annual Purge.
2013’s The Purge was an unexpected film in a lot of ways. Not only did it pull in nearly $90 million on a $3 million budget but the near future, semi-sci-fi concept made it stand out from a horror genre crowd.
For the sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, DeMonaco goes bigger in every way with more characters, a look at the wider world and a host of new ideas and notions about the way this fairly screwed up world actually works.
These elements are all welcome and the world of 2023 is very well realised, especially on such a modest budget. The reality of The Purge is sold in plenty of small details; bars and shutters and displays counting down the hours remaining.
It’s all good genre stuff, playing out a little like an extended episode of The Outer Limits. The only problem is that once the action itself kicks off – with three separate groups that eventually come together – DeMonaco just doesn’t know where to stop with the new ideas.
So we get multiple antagonistic groups, all with their own secret agenda as well as an underground network sworn to take down the system. That’s in addition to trying to make us care about five people who are given little real screen-time.
Through it all, the film belongs to Frank Grillo. He’s an actor with serious presence, usually standing two down from the star in the likes of The Grey, Warrior and The Winter Soldier. Anarchy lets him get front and centre and he does great work, selling his fairly generic revenge story and acquitting himself well during the action scenes. The dude is 51 years old!
While I can’t help wishing The Purge Anarchy had a little more focus – just Grillo’s story would have been amazing to watch for 90 minutes – writer/director DeMonaco does great work with the world building and there’s ambition to spare. Which is more than you can say for most low budget horror flicks out there.