It's 2023, and it's "Purge Night," the annual evening during which murder is legal and even encouraged. It clears out the troublesome underclass who have nowhere to hide; killing is one's patriotic duty toward keeping America safe and prosperous. Or at least that's what the government assures us.
Yeah, the set-up of James DeMonaco's horror thriller is some twisted shit, but it's probably fair to say we get the movies we deserve. This is a junky thriller, but in its own scrambled way, it's got something to say about the American propensity for violence, our dysfunctional relationship with government and related authorities, and the real-world effects of letting income inequality play out "naturally."
Last year's The Purge focused on one affluent family, and was chiefly a home-invasion tale with predictable results. This time, we're out in the streets with a small band of good folks unlucky enough to be stranded on Purge Night, and then hunted. The broader issues regarding class, race and state-sanctioned violence are more explicit in this sort-of-sequel, and these ordinary people are more sympathetic. Anarchy is still plenty exploitive, but is at least more provocative (without taxing any brains) than the first outing. That's not a recommendation, necessarily, but you can't deny that a lot of the material feels timely and worth exploring.