James DeMonaco’s 2013 horror hit The Purge established a dark vision of America where, for one night of each year, the only rule is that there are no rules. Citizens are free to rob, murder and rampage across the country without any fear of repercussions, and it works as a perfect way to work out old grudges and keep the population down.
This year’s sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, establishes a new rule, albeit an unofficial one: being nice to people on the night of the Purge is absolutely taboo. The Sandin family learned this lesson the hard way after letting a fleeing victim inside their home, and in The Purge: Anarchy grieving father Leo (Frank Grillo) finds things going badly wrong after his revenge plans are derailed by a decision to try and save mother and daughter pair Eva (Carmen Ejogo) and Cali (Zoe Soul) from masked marauders.
The Purge: Anarchy looks like a thoroughly unpleasant watch, as is to be expected of a movie that is designed to showcase humanity at its very worst. Somewhat paradoxically, a lot of the “anarchy” on display seems to be organized, such as the disturbing auction house in which the wealthiest members of society bid for the chance to purge some ripe, hand-selected victims. It looks like the themes of class warfare from the original movie are definitely going to be making a comeback.
Much like Paramount’s other major horror franchise, Paranormal Activity, The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy both use a basic premise and formula that could continue to be recycled for many movies to come. Provided there’s no Hunger Games-esque uprising that puts an end to the Purge, the studio could potentially make a dozen more movies, each focusing on a Purge night in different locations across America.
Whether The Purge: Anarchy will be as financially successful a follow-up as Paranormal Activity 2 or whether the formula will end up lacking the stamina to survive remains to be seen, but DeMonaco’s first movie was definitely strong enough to warrant giving this sequel a watch. It’s also a good chance to see Grillo back in action while we wait for Captain America 3.
The Purge: Anarchy opens in U.S. theaters on July 18th, 2014.