'The Purge: Anarchy' has scored far better reviews than it's predecessor, and director James DeMonaco appears to have learned from his mistakes.
James DeMonaco's horror flick The Purge was a modest sleeper hit for Universal Pictures in 2013, making over $80 million at the box-office on a budget of just $3 million. It wasn't groundbreaking, but if nothing else it offered a relatively original premise: for a twelve hour period in the near future, all crime in the United States is made legal.
Set one year after the original, The Purge: Anarchy focuses on couple Shane and Liz who drive to a relative's house in Los Angeles to wait out the Purge. However when their car RUNS OUT OF GAS, they are forced to flee from masked attackers.
"It's the plotting, including a number of unexpected twists and turns throughout, that raises the film above the expected blood fest and for that, we must be grateful," said Bruce Demara of the Toronto Star.
"[A] satisfyingly creepy, blunt, down-and-dirty thriller, one of those follow-ups that improves on the original," wrote Manohla Dargis of the New York Times.
"The Purge: Anarchy efficiently exploits its high-concept premise while delivering far more visceral thrills than its predecessor," said Frank Scheck of the Hollywood Reporter.
"It's better-made than the first -- DeMonaco's writing and directing are much stronger -- and it also has the courage of its convictions," said Rafer Guzman of Newsday.
A huge criticism of DeMonaco's first movie was the way in which a hugely appealing premise could only translate into a pretty formulaic home-invasion movie. The director accepts this and suggests that the wrongs of the original convinced him to work on a sequel.
"I'm not usually a huge sequel guy; they typically seem unnecessary," he told Complex, "But this one felt necessary, not just for me but for the audience. I think the audience wants to see a different part of the Purge, from a different perspective, and then I get a chance to say, "OK, I have a bigger budget and more time here, so now I can right the wrongs from the first film." There were a lot of plusses to do a sequel, when normally I'd say, "Nah, I don't want to do that."
The Purge: Anarchy hits theaters in the U.S today (July 18, 2014).