REVIEW: The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

By Patricia Hului


IMAGINE IF ALL CRIMES including murder were declared legal for 12 hours in our country, what crime would you commit?

Would you kill your boss for bullying you at work? Or would you shoot your ex who cheated on you?

“Welcome to America where one night a year all crime is legal.” That was the quote from ‘The Purge: Anarchy’, the unrelated sequel to 2013’s movie ‘The Purge’.


The Purge1

Screencapture from ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ Theatrical Trailer.


The Purge is a night when all crimes are legal and no emergency services comes to help for 12 hours straight from 7pm to 7am.

‘The Purge: Anarchy’ follows the story of couple Shane (Zach Gilford) and Liz (Kiele Sanchez) who are driving to Shane’s sister’s home when their car breaks down just as the Purge commences.

Then we have a mother, Eva Sanchez (Carmen Ejogo) and daughter, Cali Sanchez (Zoe Soul) who are running from their home after a group of assailants come and kill everyone in their building.

All of them cross paths with a stranger who is actually a police sergeant (Frank Grillo). Even he has a personal vendetta on the night of the Purge as he has set out to exact revenge on the drunk driver who got away with accidentally killing his son in a car accident.

Grillo’s character becomes the reluctant hero of the day keeping them all alive throughout the night.

A popular cliché in every horror movie seems to be one annoying character that would not know how to shut up, as it was in this movie.

I was silently wishing and praying, “Someone please shoot this person already!”

Any thriller movie worth its salt must also come up with the most sadistic, gruesome, disturbing villains to make the story interesting, so be ready with almost nonstop appearance of all kinds of villains throughout the movie.

What makes this movie interesting is that for half the movie you’re watching the characters – who seem to be ticking time bombs – and thinking, who else is going to kill someone now?

The eeriness of this alternate universe is the discovery of the sociopaths and psychopaths living among us; one of the most disturbing murderers was an elderly woman who enjoys shooting people.

It also shows that under certain circumstances, even ‘innocents’ are capable of murder.

For me the biggest villain in this movie weren’t necessarily those who roamed the city killing people but those who came up with this law in the first place.

Set in the near future – America in 2023 – the US of A has become a country where its unemployment rate is under control, crime rate is low and less people live in poverty.

Sound good? The underlying idea behind The Purge is actually population control. The government lets problematic citizens to kill each other freely and send out squads to eradicate those who fall under the poverty line: problem solved.

Although The Purge is something will never happen in any country (at least, I hope not), it does force us to reflect whether this kind of population control will ever become the best answer to overcome crime and poverty.

It has been confirmed that there will be a prequel to explain how the Purge all started.

Overall, it is not the movie you would purposely go to the cinema to watch.

For me, it is what I called a ‘why-not?’ movie. If you find yourself in the cinema and you have nothing else to watch, why not watch this movie?

It was definitely a 2.5 of 5 for me.

The Purge: Anarchy
Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul
Rating: 18
Running time: 103 minutes

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