Back in 2008 or whenever – psych, it was less than a year ago! – The Purge took the world by storm with its schlocky, stalk-y, Hawke-y twist on the “one crazy night” genre pioneered by The Hangover, The Hangover II and Project X: Teen Hangover. Trapped in a futurific cyber-house on the night where all crime is legally legal for twelve hours, Ethan “Hawkeye” Allen was forced to rig up a bunch of wacky, elaborate contraptions to repel a cavalcade of murderous masked intruders, in a schlocky etc. twist on the “Home Alone” genre pioneered by real-life home invasions, and America ate it up just barely enough to get a sequel greenlit.
The Purge: Anarchy takes its setting from the original and its subtitle from the number one fear of the late 1800’s. Driving home after a long day of stock photo modeling, a pair of pretty white non-entities abruptly find themselves in a living nightmare when their car breaks down right in the middle of their favorite Neon Trees song (who, by the way, are currently suing Spotify for failing to accurately list their genre as “Old Navy commercial”). “We’re gonna be okay, just like always,” The Guy assures The Girl, utterly failing to check his privilege. And then, impossibly, things gets worse.
An emergency broadcast system announces the commencement of the annual Purge. “This is your emergency broadcast system, announcing the commencement of the annual Purge,” it says. “All crime, including murder, will be legal for 12 hours.” Whoa, I think we know what someone’s favorite crime is! Somehow it also becomes dark and stays that way the whole time (eclipse?). Then, with a whoop and a holler and a burst of government-mandated ironic choral trailer music, the Purge starts. Quick, no time for a plot, just run!
You can do ANYTHING during the Purge. You can blow up a building. You can ride a dirtbike looking real frightful. You can drink a beer on a school bus with your shirt off, like you did in the good ol’ days before your court order. You can put a lady’s makeup on your creepazoid mask for extra panache, or roll backwards with your stank face on, or label yourself “GOD,” whatever urges your Purge. You can even do whatever’s going on here:
The Guy and The Girl use this freedom solely to run away and look scared, when they could be committing tax fraud, or mail fraud, or insurance fraud, or sodomy. This strains an already-tenuous premise. Based on their total lack of characterization and apparent impotence, I just can’t see them surviving to the post-Purge pancake and bottomless Bellini brunch. Maybe they’ll wind up in jail. Wouldn’t that be wild?
Hey, fictional government, here’s an idea: How about take all the money you’re probably spending on Purge clean-up and just buy everyone a pillow to scream into? No more dirtbike psychos, just good, common sense. Consider it for the inevitable threequel.
The trailer leaves a lot to the viewer’s imagination, which is a great strategy for if you’re making a movie without an imagination of your own. All I can say for sure is that the film will be predominantly orange-brown and feature lawless behavior of a reprehensible sort. No Christian should have to watch this.
TWO STARS DUE TO NOW I KNOW THAT SONG IS ACTUALLY BY NEON TREES AND WASN’T JUST SKIMMED OFF OF THE IMAGINE DRAGONS BIRTHING POOL.