James DeMonaco's The Purge has some interesting social commentary aspects, which are married to a stock home invasion B-movie narrative; depending on how you look at, the film's either a smart thrill ride (despite the pulpy elements) or its semi-philosophical aspects are overshadowed by horror genre conventions (read our review, for our take).
This year's sequel The Purge: Anarchy - also written and directed by DeMonaco - revisits the premise of a dystopian future America where all crime is legal for 12 hours on an annual basis, but expands the playing field to encompass an entire city rather than a single household. That move not only allows for world-building within the film's alternate-reality setting, it also means the second Purge installment can broaden its focus to more than one set of characters.
We're already seeing that with the film's marketing. The first trailer for Purge: Anarchy focuses on the couple played by Zach Gilford (Devil’s Due) and Kiele Sanchez (The Glades), whose car ends up breaking down on - of course - the annual Purge night, stranding them in the middle of a city where those who aren't hiding away are running around its streets, on the prowl to draw blood.
The newly-unveiled full-length theatrical preview for the Purge sequel touches briefly on Gilford and Sanchez's dilemma, but primarily focuses on the character played by Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), who's on a personal quest for vengeance on Purge night. Of course, as we see in the new trailer, having a conscience in an environment where most people are looking to murder and/or otherwise harm anyone they can get their hands on... well, that presents its own problems.
Purge: Anarchy, in typical movie sequel fashion, appears to be bigger and louder than its predecessor; by moving the action into a larger sandbox, however, DeMonaco could also manage to present some intriguingly different moral/ethical dilemmas relative to the first installment - or, failing that, at least a few worthy nightmarish scenarios (see: victims being auctioned off to the highest bidder).
Question is, will the Purge sequel be all the smarter for it - or will blowing the doors wide open in this film only compound the dumber aspects of the original movie? It could go either way, so let us know what you're predicting in the comments, based on the trailer footage shown thus far.
The Purge: Anarchy is slate to open in U.S. theaters on July 18th, 2014.