Let me start out firstly by saying that this film in no way, shape or form, is a horror film, it is an action film pure and simple, there may be the occasional jump scare, but that doesn’t mean it’s a horror film. The first Purge film wasn’t a horror either, but it was a thriller with at least slight shadings of horror, now having watched ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ I can safely say that The Purge franchise as there will undoubtedly be one of these films released a year all hinges on a very interesting premise but the talent involved has no idea how to use the interesting plot point and make a scary film out of it.
The film is made on the cheap side, not so much in the aesthetics but in the more important aspects of a film; the directing is good, the script is an overstuffed mess, the acting is mostly good, the dialogue has some ridiculous lines no sane human being would ever utter. Having said that though, the aesthetic of the film is gorgeous, all the make-up, the masks and costumes, sometimes even the buildings themselves have a beauty about them, all excellently built and immersed into the world.
The film is only 100 minutes long but the script is ridiculously over stuffed, with multiple places where it would have been perfectly fine to have stopped the film, but it just went on and on and on, multiple chances to finish the film, multiple chances passed. The fact that I was thinking this throughout the film was a sign that the film, during the parts where the film was focused on the five main characters, I was bored with most of them. The only character that I had any interest in is Frank Grillo’s character, the rest were in my mind, cannon fodder. In fact I kept wishing certain characters would die so the film wouldn’t waste any more screen time on them, the characters were extremely poorly written.
The action for the most part was good, lots of different situations meant that the action didn’t really become too repetitive which helped to keep me interested. I also liked that we got to see more of this world in which the Purge happens outside of a rich white family living in their gated community, all different creeds and characters were shown and all seemed like they would make a more interesting story than the story that the film inevitably followed.
The film tried to include a lot of twists in the story because that’s the cool thing to do again, but the twists were so lazily written that oft times dialogue would uncover 50% of the twist before the film is even ready to unveil the twist. It’s distracting and a result of sloppy writing, if you can’t execute a twist correctly then don’t try to force one upon your audience.
Go in expecting a decent action film and you’ll enjoy yourself, go in expecting a horror film, don’t be surprised if you hate the film.