The Purge: Anarchy (DeMonaco, 2014) is the latest release from Blumhouse Productions. The company was founded by and is run by Jason Blum, and it has been responsible for the production of the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister and The Purge franchises. A lot of the films produced by the company have been brought about the teaming up of the Saw franchise creator James Wan and Jason Blum. Paranormal Activity meets Saw idea, with actual supernatural elements but without the intense gore. As such, The Purge (DeMonaco, 2013) was the latest idea released by Blumhouse Productions last year. However, this film contained real life horrors with actual people becoming more of a thriller, and eventually turning into a major critique of contemporary American society, and to an extent Western society in general, in the second instalment of the franchise: The Purge: Anarchy.
The basic idea of ‘The Purge’ is that all crime becomes legal for 12 hours on 21st March every year. A law enacted by the United States by the new ‘founding fathers’, and as a result crime falls, as well as unemployment during the rest of the year. However, the period is used as a way to rid the streets of the poor and those who are ‘taking’ from society. It develops into a nationwide cult with notions of having the ‘right’ to purge every year, and the slogan ‘United We Purge’. Of course, you have those who don’t purge every year and have to lock themselves down in their homes. A movement develops against the purge as you get to the second movie. While the 12 hours is a playground for gangs, serial killers, and rapists, a high class ‘purge’ culture develops in this period too. Rick people buy people from the working class with money for their families, if they give themselves to be killed in the privacy of the homes of the high class. While larger groups get gangs to round people up, and sell them off at auction to be hunted.
The first film revolves around one family on lock down in their suburban, upper class home on the outskirts of Los Angeles, as they try and survive their house being attacked during the purge. As such, the first film develops the issues and themes which are developed in more detail in the second movie. Setting the scene and giving one a feel for the chaos and terror that occurs during the purge.
On the other hand, the second film follows people trapped in the streets of Los Angeles during the 2023 annual purge, and their struggle for survival. The purge has developed to the government not thinking that the people are ‘purging’ enough, and as such send in massive trucks with killer squads to kill all the people in specific, run-down areas of the city.
The films are highly critical of class differences and class distinctions within contemporary American societies. The annual purge is a way for high class people to have ‘fun’, by ritually purging society of those who are less well off. Basically, and not attempting to be too general about it, the high class hunt and kill the working class while the middle class try to wade out the purge in their homes. Meanwhile, you still have gangs running riot around the streets, killing who they like, while others wait for the night to kill people they have a grudge against or did them wrong. Of course, they may find themselves getting killed as well. Others, just purge for kicks.
As such, I would recommend the films. They are interesting from the point of thrillers, and/or if you are a fan of the films produced by Blumhouse Productions. I myself love the Insidious franchise, and think the combination of Saw and Paranormal Activity has led to the release of really amazing horror movies that are going back to fear, rather than gore. The Purge films also serve as interesting social critiques of where society is and where it is going. Crime, class, and poverty are the key themes developed.
Would you purge?
All emergency services will be suspended for a 12 hour period. If you are not purging, we wish you all the best and protected safety of your homes. May god be with you. If you are, may we wish you a pleasant and enjoyable purge.
United we PURGE!!!