5 September 2014 | ArchonCinemaReviews
Far more thoughtful and realistic - disturbing and scary
In The Purge Anarchy the new founding fathers sanction another murderous cleanse.
The Purge Anarchy revisits the gruesome dystopia in the not so distant future where for twelve hours all sanctioned crime is legal and all rescue services are suspended. The nation is reborn, unemployment and crime are at record lows, all because of the annual night for decriminalized murder to unleash pent up American rage.
Five virtual strangers join together to survive when, after several unrelated but harrowing events, all find themselves on the street and in jeopardy on purge night. There is no security system, minimal defense and there is little hope.
Despite being marketed as a horror film The Purge Anarchy feels more like a thriller. The potential for a despicable act of inhumanity is imminent and occurs frequently throughout the film. Yet, its display is the antithesis of a masturbatory gore fest relishing in the suffering, evocative of torture-porn. Instead, the brutality is appropriately out of focus in the background, almost as an afterthought, consistent with the desensitized society.
The approach of James DeMonaco's direction is on point with the message of the film. He creates a disconcerting feeling with a deserted cityscape, seemingly lit at night by flickering yellow streetlights casting shrouded shadows. Certain scenes are realistically and deliberately shaky and imperfect to draw the audience into the character's peril.
One can not talk about a second installment to a franchise without returning to its predecessor, in this case The Purge. Acclaimed as a novel premise and potentially unsettling look into the primal aspect of human nature, it left something to be desired. The story had so many places it could go that were raw and savage; yet, The Purge was slightly simplistic and flawed but still enjoyable. Once again James DeMonaco took the helm as writer and director of The Purge's sequel Anarchy. This time DeMonaco's execution was able to address criticisms by delving further into concept, but from a different perspective: the working class. In doing so we see a harsher existence, far less idealistic and a more depraved purge night.
The difference between The Purge and The Purge Anarchy is that the active tormenters for this purge are not all unhinged closeted maniacs hiding behind masks. Anarchy takes the end of The Purge and goes more in-depth. Those participating are frustrated and exhausted but ultimately they are people. Most terrifyingly it proposes a hypothetical and disturbingly feasible purge experience for the upper class. The nefarious top 10% obligingly exercise their civic responsibility and now government granted right in style and comfort. The Purge Anarchy is a commentary on society and social inequality in the most gruesome of circumstances.
The film's ability to play into our inner fears, that deep within anyone there is a darkness capable of unspeakable evil, is pivotal to its success. While I wish The Purge Anarchy hadn't tried to tidy the story up and resolve everything I did find it far more realistic and thought provoking than the former.
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