If you feel like you blinked and all of a sudden there was a sequel to last year’s low-budget dystopian horror flick The Purge, you’re not far off. After premiering last June, the follow up, The Purge: Anarchy, hits theaters exactly a year later, this June 20. That’s like lighting. For a movie to get the green light, knock out a script, put together a cast, shoot, edit, and market, all in less than 12 months is bananas, not to mention virtually unheard of. Then again, we’re talking about Blumhouse Productions here, and they’re not above cranking this shit out. The goal must be to get another movie into theaters before people realize the first movie was a little suspect, and to further that end, Universal dropped new teaser trailer earlier today. It may only be 90 seconds long, but there’s a whole mess to talk about here.
After watching this, I have two distinct immediate thoughts. First, this actually looks way more interesting than the first film, which took a good concept and basically turned it into another bland home invasion movie. I’m not sure that this means Anarchy will be good—that is such a boring, generic name—but what the hell, could be just crazy and schlocky enough to be fun.
In the future, crime is so out of control that the government tries something drastic. For one night a year, all crime is legal. The theory is apparently that if you blow off all of your pent up murderous steam—because the only reason that we’re not all killing each other all of the time is because we might get in trouble, right?—and desire to cause a ruckus, there will be no crime. I’m not sure how sound that logic is, but for the sake of argument we’ll say sure, that works.
The whole idea of the Purge basically sounds like a way to get rid of (or purge) social “undesirables,” AKA poor people. The first Purge takes place in a hoity-toity rich folks kind of neighborhood where people can afford fancy security systems. Anarchy is apparently set on the same night, but shows how the other half lives by taking it to the streets of the inner city. There are no snug, secure bungalows to relax in while the world goes to hell outside, this a damn war zone. When star Zach Gilford’s car breaks down at the most inopportune moment—they’re listening to relentlessly cheerful Neon Trees song, so something has to go wrong—he has to figure out a way to get himself and his girlfriend through the next 12 hours as society tears itself limb from limb.
This leads right into my second thought, which is: this looks like The Road Warrior had an ugly baby with Judgment Night, except without the awesome soundtrack. You remember Judgment Night, the one where Cuba Gooding Jr. and Emilio Estevez’ RV breaks down in the ghetto, they witness a gangland hit, and spend the rest of the movie running from Dennis Leary, who is one of the least convincing crime bosses in movie history. Just when they think they’re safe, when they’ve finally made it, they stumble smack into another traumatic situation as their group of friends slowly dwindles in number.
The set up of Anarchy is totally reminiscent of Judgment Night, but with a bit of post-apocalyptic mayhem thrown in for good measure. The images come fast and furious in this teaser, but if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice what appear to be an armor-plated battlewagon, as well as roving groups in all manner of makeshift masks and cobbled together outfits. This is the more chaotic, lets-get-crazy side. You see them out there throwing improvised Molotov cocktails and flipping cars. I think that shirtless biker-looking guy dancing and pouring beer on himself, or whatever the hell he’s doing, is the true embodiment of this segment of the population. It may be out of control and violent, but there’s a party element to the Purge.
On the other hand, there’s also a more measured, organized faction. You see this in the form of the unidentified man gearing up and strapping into a bulletproof vest. Here’s the question, is he tooling up to protect himself from the impeding madness, or his he preparing for the hunt? Given the sinister nature of the goings-on, I’d be willing to wager that he has a “Most Dangerous Game” thing going on. While the rest of the world gets rowdy and riots, he’s probably been planning this outing all year long. Bet he has a collection of scalps or human skulls.
The Purge: Anarchy really wants to be a sharp social critique, envisioning a dystopian vision of a future gone wrong. That much is apparent with gloomy version of “America the Beautiful” that plays over this trailer, and the corrupted red, white, and blue motif of this video and the poster. Maybe it will turn out to be just that, I’m not holding my breath, but anything is possible. I’d settle for a raucous, pulpy dystopian tale. More than anything, I think this is an illustration of what happens when a movie that cost $3 million brings in $89 million worldwide.