The Purge: Anarchy

The 2013 horror film The Purge came under fire from critics for its tendency to lean toward tired clichés and over the top violence simply for the sake of it. It would seem that the criticism was noted as writer and director James DeMonaco returns with The Purge: Anarchy.

Set one year after the original film, The Purge: Anarchy takes us into downtown Los Angeles to spend the purge with five people who team up to try survive the night of violence.

The group consists of a young couple (Zach Gilford and Keile Sanchez) whose car breaks down, a mysterious heavily armed sergeant (Frank Grillo) and a waitress and her teenage daughter (Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul). This unlikely group must stick together to try escape the roaming vicious gangs baying for blood on the fateful annual night.

The premise behind this film works because the viewers are put on the front lines, watching the purge from the inside as it unfolds in all its chaos. The original film sometimes felt claustrophobic as the action centred in the one location but Anarchy utilises the downtown city setting to add another dimension to the story.

The choice to avoid casting big name stars in favour of relatively unknown actors works well for Anarchy as well as there is nothing to distract from the characters as we meet them.

DeMonaco brings much more social commentary to the fore in this film touching on the themes of wealth inequality and the connections between poverty and crime but for the majority of the film violence is favoured. Despite this DeMonaco has managed to make this a reasonably good action packed thriller as opposed to the slasher-esque first instalment.

This film is a rarity in that it is a sequel which far exceeds the original, the setting and characters are much better in Anarchy making the audience genuinely care whether the characters make it out alive.  If you enjoy thrillers then I recommend checking out this film and if you were disappointed by the original just give Anarchy the benefit of the doubt before you condemn it, you might be pleasantly surprised.

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