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'The Purge: Anarchy' is a killer thriller that defies expectations

The Purge: Anarchy

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The upcoming horror movie, “The Purge: Anarchy,” which is slated to hit theaters July 18, 2014 follows in the footsteps of the disappointing and overreaching “The Purge.” Although the film promises to be a horror film, just as its predecessor did, once again “The Purge” fails to scare. As a horror movie, “The Purge: Anarchy,” is an abysmal failure. However, the movie has all of the defining characteristics of a well-made, action-packed, thriller.

Frank Grillo kills it as the star of 'The Purge: Anarchy
Frank Grillo kills it as the star of 'The Purge: AnarchyPhoto by Rachel Murray

Although the first “Purge” movie was a disappointing attempt at a horror movie, it had an intriguing and fascinating set-up that allows the latest installment to jump right into the action. The film takes place in the year 2023; America has been reborn and now has unemployment rates below 5% with virtually no crime or socioeconomic struggles. This seemingly perfect system relies upon a twelve-hour period that comes once a year known as “The Purge.” The purge, which is evidently the brainchild of the New Founding Fathers, suspends all laws, including murder, in an effort to help citizens relieve their pent-up animalistic tendencies.

“Anarchy” follows five individuals as they struggle to survive the dangerous night and the forces that seem intent on killing them. The first film in the series frequently overreached and attempted to make a strong politically charged statement about the distribution of wealth and power in America, but a series of plot holes and loose ends left the attempt feeling weak and unsubstantiated. In the sequel; however, the introduction of a completely new perspective and a new set of characters allows the filmmakers to finally communicate the deeper intellectual themes they had tried to force-feed the audience last time.

Although the sequel stumbles at some points and leaves a few questions unanswered, it is a vast improvement over the prequel. Furthermore, “Anarchy” respects the intelligence of the audience, for the most part, and lets the actions on screen dominate the social conversation instead of yelling a message at the audience through unnatural dialogue as they did before. They carefully avoid including unnecessary, extraneous characters so the movie flows smoothly and has a clear trajectory. Moreover, they emphasize the action and the violence that they promise in the film’s promotions. “Anarchy” truly depicts a scene of complete chaos and the masked, murderous figures seem far more unruly than they did in the previous film. I will note that the conclusion does not quite fit the tone of the rest of the film, but it does a fine job wrapping up the loose ends and clearly makes room for the third and presumably final installment in the series.

Overall “The Purge: Anarchy” is a vast improvement over the mediocre prequel, and those disappointed with the original will be extremely satisfied with the new tone and direction of the franchise. Moviegoers looking for a true-to-form horror film should steer clear of the film, but those looking for a violent, thrilling action movie should consider watching “The Purge: Anarchy.”