I finally saw The Purge this weekend, as I was inspired by its above 50% score on RT which may not be fresh, but is pretty good for the horror genre as a whole given critics propensity to dislike most entries.
The first film was one of the biggest success stories of last year, and now given that The Purge itself is an annual event, the film documenting it can be annual too, it seems. That can happen when you can film the entire movie in a month on a sub-$10M budget.
I sort of disliked the first film, mostly because I couldn’t really get past the political allegory being hammered down our throats, even if it’s a point I can agree with most of the time (the rich exploit the poor). It was just so ham-handed it ruined the tone of the film.
But it did work in many ways. The concept was terrifying, albeit implausible, and the film made for a nice little slasher flick starring the rather good Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey.
I was curious to see The Purge: Anarchy do something pretty unique. While Paranormal Activity and Saw essentially beat their own concepts to death with a shovel, The Purge: Anarchy expands on the central idea and makes the new movie anything but a dredged-up repeat.
The genre is completely different. It really isn’t horror anymore, it’s downright dystopian sci-fi, and practically an action movie in many parts. The movie might as well be a full remake of Escape from New York in many ways, from the roving gangs in an insane city, to a central hero tasked with protecting the weak.
While the movie itself is still somewhat forgettable, I thought it was an interesting example of a series doing a complete pivot. While it retained many elements from the original, the tone changed completely.
Perhaps it’s not the most revolutionary achievement of filmmaking, but I did appreciate the effort they put in instead of simply rehashing the first film, which is what so many of these low budget horror sequels do. It actually made me look forward to the potential of The Purge 3, which is obviously inevitable at this point.