Scandalous Adventures: Advance Screening of THE PURGE: ANARCHY
Hi. My name is Tiffany Scandal and I am a good-for-nothing broad. Let's go on an adventure.
I was recently invited to enjoy an advance screening of THE PURGE: ANARCHY here in Portland, Oregon.
I saw the first PURGE when it was still in theaters. I went with a professor of criminology. We drank before, during, and after the movie. The concept was simple: one day out of the year, all crime is legal for 12 hours. It's 2022. We have some crazy "New Founding Fathers" that present the purge as a catharsis to expel negativity and repressed urges . . . really, those fuckers just introduced a new method of population control -- it's hunting season and the poor and defenseless are the targets. Fucked up, yeah? Anyway, me and the professor tore that movie a new one with very minimal slurring.
I was curious to see how they'd follow the first one up. While I don't remember being overly impressed by the first film, I will happily watch anything that promises a fair amount of gore and violence. My "+1" to this event hadn't seen the first movie and was nervous that he would struggle to follow the movie. I told him that everyone dies in the first one and that this sequel can probably stand on its own. I think he called me an asshole for spoiling it. Anyway, we got dressed up. Took a detour on the way to good sushi and ended up with bad sushi that really just tasted like demon foreskin. Walking away from the unnamed sushi establishment, we both felt like we need to do a little purging of our own. So we walked to the nearest bar and ordered shots of the strongest whiskey they had. A few drinks in and $40 bar tab later, we grabbed our belongings and headed to the movie theater.
The screening was slated for 7pm, and a crowd was already outside of the movie theater when we got there at 6. Summer finally hit Portland, and sweet-fucking-jesus is no one here knows how to handle 90 degree weather. We headed in to the glorious air-conditioned theater and basked in the glory of cold-air kissing our faces. Walking toward the theater, we got distracted by beer at concession stand. This theater only offered soda and Icees last time I was there. I geared up with a yellow wristband and happily bounced back to Theater 3 with overpriced shitty beer (but damn it tasted like cool victory while sitting on scratchy fabric and having my feet cement into sticky floors.)
Potential alcoholism aside, my date and I got to sit in the snazzy cordoned-off "Press section" and patiently waited for the film to start. The theater filled fast. Chitter chatter gave way to silence when the lights dimmed. A cell phone goes off. Someone courteously shouted, "turn off your fucking phone." As the culprit started to shout back something about previews, the opening sequence of THE PURGE: ANARCHY played on the big screen. The theater was now completely quiet.
The film takes place in 2023 (one year after its prequel). Almost immediately, we are introduced to the main players we will follow throughout the movie. We have a single mother who works as a waitress to support her teenage daughter and ill father, a man bent on revenge, and a young couple whose marriage has run its course. The film reminded me a lot of the RESIDENT EVIL series in execution from its prequel, and films by Robert Rodriguez with its gratuitous violence and bad jokes. This film is much more enjoyable if you think of it as a comedy.
This movie has gore. This movie has violence. But the story only moves forward through coincidence. The waitress is attacked by a gross neighbor, who gets killed by robo-cop looking soldiers, who all somehow get shot down by the guy bent on revenge as he happens to drive by her house (which is nowhere near the location that he tries to get to throughout the whole movie). As revenge dude is on a shooting spree, he leaves his car door unlocked, leaving the young unhappily married couple access to temporary sanctuary as they flee a gang of Slipknot devotees. That is how we get our gang of protagonists together. More convenient events occur, and that is how our protagonists get from point a, to point b, to point whatever at the end of the movie. There were also a few moments where I kind of cringed because lines that would be uttered made no sense if you paid attention to movie (i.e., waitress shouting, "do you have a car? we need you to drive us now!" right after emerging from a perfectly nice, parked car that still had the keys in the ignition).
Despite the lazy storytelling and lack of attention to minor details, the cinematography of this film was fucking gorgeous. Beautiful shots of ugly acts making each still to look like art.
Oh! and fans of THE WIRE might get stoked to recognize Michael K Williams as Carmelo, a Malcom X type character who encourages the working class to rise against the purge. His character was pretty badass, but also a little too conveniently placed. I wish we would've seen more of him in the movie.
Also, much to the disappointment of the person sitting behind us, there were no cannibals in this movie. So if and when you watch this movie, when you see a group of people happy to see other people on screen, just stop yourself from thinking and whispering, "they're cannibals" . . . because they're not . . . at least not obviously on screen.
Overall, I'd give THE PURGE: ANARCHY three out of five rotting skulls.
Thank you Living Dead Magazine for the hook up on this event. Stay tuned next week for Horror Babe Of The Week, an AWESOME interview with someone super rad, and another adventure that, I promise, won't end up being a movie review.
Keep it creepy.