The Purge: Anarchy Kills With Delight


When a sequel to The Purge was announced, my first thought was a combination of “of course, it’s Blumhouse,” (P.S. I love Blumhouse. Probably the reason I am a horror fan is because of BH) and “I hope this isn’t a money-grab move.” But, when the trailer was released for The Purge: Anarchy was released, I was as stoked as could be. As it turned out, I shared the same sentiment as many of those who saw it; this is the film we wanted to see the first time around!

And, I’m pleased to say that it does. Before I go into my thoughts and feelings on the film, below you’ll find a shortened plot summary, but still is riddled with spoilers. If you’re like me and hate hate HATE spoilers…skip down to where I say it’s safe. Ready?

The opening 20-ish minutes introduce us to the five main characters; a poor family living in the projects, with a mom – Eva Sanchez (played by Carmen Ejogo) – who is in a seemingly dead-end diner job trying to support both her daughter – Cali (Zoe Soul) – and grandfather who is elderly, sick and dying. (John Beasley, who plays Papa Rico.) Next, we are introduced to Shane (Friday Night Lights’ and Devil’s Due’s Zach Gilford) and his soon-to-be-separated wife, Liz (Kiele Sanchez), who are taking the back roads home from an undisclosed location to avoid the packed New York (at least, I think it takes place in New York) roads to get home. Finally, we are introduced to Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who is only named in the final five minutes of the film, and is only named “Sergeant,” who we meet loading all of his arms, placing a bullet-proof vest and getting ready to have, what we first believe to be, the night of his life.

In the Sanchez’s abode, Papa Rico is acting, strange, and tells his girls that he is going to hit they hay for the night to try and pass the night. Cali heads to her room, and is watching an internet video of Carmelo (Michael K. Williams), who is posting anti-NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) videos, spreading his anti-Purge message, and getting Cali riled up as only an internet video of this kind can for a teenager.

Before heading home, the troubled couple stops at a grocery store, and Shane is bumped into by an awaiting Purger, with a face painted a la the Dia de Muerto. The incident scares the living you know what out of the couple, and they head on their merry way.

Finally, about 25-30 minutes into the film, the Purge starts, and we get our first taste of plot twists. Papa Rico, who his girls think are in bed safe and sound, has actually been bought by a wealthy family for a hefty price, so they can have their own personal Purge in their house. Shane and Liz have car trouble, and by looking under the vehicle, they see that the power has been cut by the hooligans at the grocery store. And for Sergeant, he’s busy…driving around the city? Avoiding all gunfire and flames at all costs?

Let’s fast forward a bit – the Sanchez’s get home invaded by a near literal army of men who take them outside, but they are saved by Sergeant and taken to his bullet-proof car, also where Shane and Liz, stranded in the city with no sanctuary, have slipped in since the car was unlocked.

The five become an unlikely rag-tag team, and as it turns out, Eva has a co-worker who can salvage them, so they make their way half way across town. Once at Tanya’s (Justina Machado), we get our first huge plot twist – seemingly a safe haven, Tanya’s sister kills her, and is aiming for her husband because the two have been carrying on some sort of affair (she sites e-mail’s back and forth and nothing physical was ever admitted to). With all the craziness, the five leave, and are picked up by the masked hooligans that bumped into Shane.

As it turns out, they are not in the business of Purging. But, what they are in the business of, is selling to Purgers, and the five get sold, and later auctioned off at a dinner party being held on Purge night of the rich. Once bought, the five – as well as those who paid for them – are placed into an arena (a la Hunger Games), to be hunted, but Serg. takes matters into his own hands, and kills all but three of the rich. Those who have been watching are not amused, and call for back-up, but are met by Carmelo, Dwayne (yes, from the first one! Played by Edwin Hodge) and the rest of the anti-NFFA who clean up, and save everyone but Shane, who is shot repeatedly in the chest.

While Sergeant isn’t as malicious as first believed when we are introduced to him, he is after a man named Warren Grass (Brandon Keener), who was drunk behind the wheel when he killed his son (oh, hello plot to Saw IV). Serg. finds his way to the house, but thanks to the sweet talking from Cali, decides to spare Grass’ life. The film ends with the Sanchez’s taking Sergeant to the ER, and another “successful,” Purge has commenced.


As a whole, I really enjoyed the film, and it was exactly what I was looking for in the first rendition. The introduction of the three different story lines made it a bit confusing, but they were brought together nicely (albeit, a bit abruptly – but it works in the hectic backdrop of a free-for-all on the streets). While it may not have been as enjoyable or easy to watch as the first one, there is a whole lot more to like about it, and is without a doubt a better overall movie. Where as the predecessor was more of a thriller as opposed to a horror movie, TP:A is a nice mix of both, as there is still the suspense that the first held, but also a lot more violence and a helluva lot more blood and guts. Also, the movie is very darkly funny at times, taking the James Wan playbook of momentarily releasing whoever is watching with a light chuckle here and there.

I loved the idea of the rich buying people for their own, personal sacrifice, and it made a great subtle foreshadow to the auction that our five protagonists find themselves in. I also really enjoyed the idea of the rich making a night out of things and place their purchased prizes into a hunting ring.

The overtone of rich vs. poor is talked about more (obviously) than the first movie, but I think it was done more tastefully and not as annoyingly, especially when the NFFA fighters, while they don’t agree with the Purge, make the blood of the rich spill because nothing will change if it doesn’t.

Final Verdict: The disappointment of the first film only enhanced the enjoyment of this one, and a lot of good ideas were introduced (again, the rich buying people off, the killing arena, etc.) and the twists were Blumhouse worthy. This was the film we all wanted the first time around, and if you simply act as if the first movie is a prequel (or if you haven’t seen it yet), it makes it all the better.

I have no doubt that there will be a third installment, and hopefully that’ll be it. I’d love to see it take place in 10-ish years, where the anti-NFFA becomes stronger, and a Purge-civil war breaks out between those opposed and against the NFFA, and finally political targets are hit (even though they’re emitted from Purging…THERE ARE NO RULES IN PURGE 3!).

But, if you haven’t seen it yet, go spend the money to check it out in theaters. If you have seen it, what did you think? How wrong am I in enjoying it so much? And, how awesome will the DVD be?