Halloween Double Feature: The Purge: Anarchy (2014) & The Purge: Election Year (2016)


Due to some changes, the second double feature got changed and I ended up moving up The Purge franchises second and third film, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year, which has been a long overdue revisit to the franchise after watching the first film years ago. I liked The Purge relatively a lot but was a little skeptical on how sequels would work with it so lets see how these two sequels did *crossing my fingers that we are are getting closer to horror territory*.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

The Purge: Anarchy

Director (and writer): James DeMonaco

Cast: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Jack Conley, Michael Kenneth Williams, LaKeith Stanfield

Three groups of people intertwine and are left stranded in the streets on Purge Night, trying to survive the chaos and violence that occurs. – IMDB

Arugably not as star-studded as the first movie The Purge (review) with Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, The Purge: Anarchy actually doesn’t have quite the same type of home invasion horror but rather changes into a downtown street level type of Purge as a few groups of people end up in the streets during the Purge night and ends up being saved by Sergeant, played by Frank Grillo. While it still have the chase element, the horror elements are rather less however retaining the Los Angeles location from the first movie.

The Purge: Anarchy is actually quite slow overall. There is action going on but it always feels like the pacing isn’t particularly great. Taking it to the streets is a good idea as that is where the danger is and makes the scope bigger onto the people and citizen and the different elements on a societal levels. It gives a depth to The Purge tradition and structure. That’s the part that does work for The Purge: Anarchy and makes this sequel work more.

Another big plus for The Purge: Anarchy definitely goes to Frank Grillo who lead a lot of this film as Sergeant who ends up taking care of the  two families that he ends up helping out while having his own agenda. Its a character that definitely was appreciated in this whole thing as it pulled together the human elements as well as the action elements which is great because he ends up also being there in the next film of The Purge franchise. Is it very horror scary? Not really, its more of the action thriller drama sort of deal with some horror in terms of being chased and hunted down.

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

The Purge: Election Year

Director (and writer): James DeMonaco

Cast: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty  Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor

Former Police Sergeant Barnes becomes head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge. – IMDB

The Purge: Election Year takes another angle of the near-future world of where it takes place. This time showing the political angle of the this era as The Purge for the first time has no limits on who can be killed during The Purge, opening it up to the political figures as well. Taking it to another level of this world which adds some more depth from where the franchise has gone. Another link here is Frank Grillo, which reappears giving this a timeline of 2 years later from The Purge: Anarchy (and at one point refers to it) and now doing security detail for the opposition party leader, Charlie Roan.

The Purge: Election Year has a lot more horror as it shows a lot more “purging” moments around the city which has everything from beheading to hanging to lit up cars to crazy young adults and all kinds of things bloody. It adds to jumpscares and amplifies the whole purging experience (which the previous film lacked, in my opinion). At the same time, it also manages to balance out the action elements in the chase as they try to protect Charlie Roan from being caught by the opposing parties and the New Founding Fathers. It shows more of the unwritten rules during Purge Night as well as the secret organizations that are also against the Purge and the different goals they have. Most of all, now its about weapons and such with lots of gun fights and the likes but Frank Grillo also gets to show off some hand to hand combat and its a different pacing but adds to the variety of action here.

The downfall of The Purge: Election Year are some very disposable and annoying characters added in, like the over the top performances from the opposing guy which is a minister and seems like he’s a crazy person by the end. It was a bit over, just like the lit up car with the young girls, specifically the character of Kimmy which was just ridiculously over the top, out of her mind and got rather annoying. The crazy is supposed to be scary but I’m not quite sure it had that effect. Luckily, they do balance these smaller characters with some pretty good main characters from Charlie Roan (played by Elizabeth Mitchel) and Leo (Frank Grillo) paired with some fantastic characters that they meet from deli owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson) who does a great team with Leo and was one of the best performances here along with his employee, Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) who also added and the badass lady nicknamed Pequena Muerte, Laney Rucker who is also really great.

Overall, The Purge: Election Year does a good job. It still goes through a lot of the same motions of how these films are structured but the story does elevate itself each time a little more to give more depth from different angles and learn more about the society. This film kind of wraps up this whole Purge business so when the chance presents itself, its time to go back to the next film which is the prequel The First Purge of how it all started.

Halloween Double Feature #2 is done!
Are you a The Purge franchise fan? Thoughts? Which is your favorite film from this franchise?

Halloween Marathon: My Soul To Take (2010)

On a slightly boring and gloomy Saturday morning, I decided to pick up my courage and watch My Soul To Take.  The only reason I had of watching this was that the summary sounded alright and well, there was Max Theriot.  I like him from Bates Motel so hey, why not give it a chance, right? Plus, Netflix seems to think its a good match for me.

my soul to take posterDirector: Wes Craven

Cast: Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Denzel Whitaker, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Pauliina Olszynski, Emily Meade, Frank Grillo

One night in Riverton, a serial killer murders his wife and takes his own life, however, surviving him is his daughter.  That same night, 7 children were born the moment that he died.  Its rumored that his soul split and went into each of these 7 children and that he would come back to claim his soul back.  16 years later, these seven: Bug (Max Thieriot), Alex (John Magaro), Jerome (Denzel Whitaker), Penelope (Zena Grey), Brandon (Nick Lashaway), Brittany (Paulina Olszynski) and Jay (Jeremy Chu) celebrate their birthday but they realize that one by one, they start disappearing.  Is the Riverton killer really back from the dead to take back his soul?

my soul to take 1

My Soul To Take is a horror thriller which actually may have its few thrills but not much horror.  It does built a nice atmosphere in a eerie with the dark scenes in the forest, the house, etc.  However, even with that, it still feel somewhat flawed.  There were questionable parts and a lot of the scenes were predictable. It tried to bring in a lot of evil symbols such as the crow. It was a mix of supernatural, slasher and mystery.

my soul to take 4

One of the biggest flaws in this flick would have to be its characters.  A lot of them aren’t too impressive acting-wise.  Their roles were a bit weird and nothing made me connect to them much.  The only exception was Max Thieriot as the lead character, or else I might have either turned off the movie or fell asleep.  I can see that he has some acting potential as he lead his role very well.  He was the mystery of this movie more than the actual Riverton killer as he had so many secrets revolving his life and his past with his family.  Another character that I liked was the girl playing his sister, Leah, known to her friends as Fang, played by Emily Meade.  She had a pretty good part and she was an essential part to the puzzle of learning Bug’s past.

my soul to take 2

Hmm…I’m all talked out.  This movie just didn’t really do much for me.  Its not that I hated it though.  I just wasn’t that impressed and I haven’t even seen anything from Wes Craven’s work to begin with so no comparison since that seems to be what disappoints mostly.  The only reason I’d pick up this movie to watch again would be to watch Max Thieriot do his role 🙂 He was definitely the positive in this movie.  So, would I recommend it? Well, if you like Max Thieriot or Emily Meade, then go for it (but then you might has well check out Bates Motel).  If you like a mild mystery/thriller but not to be scared, then this could be a good choice.  You won’t have much to guess because you’ll see everything happening a mile away, especially the kids disappear or getting killed.

I’m going into so many of these movies in the Halloween marathon blind.  My expectations being low could make me have better impressions of the movie than they actually are.  Let’s see if the next one is better…Halloween 4 review FINALLY going up next!

The Grey (2011)

Originally, I wasn’t going to watch The Grey just yet.  Yesterday, Fogs over at Fog’s Movie Reviews gave his FMR Awards for the Most Surprising Movie of 2012 Award to this movie, I knew that I had to watch it soon.  If you haven’t been over at his blog, you should check it out HERE! He’s giving out his FMR Awards for the rest of the week for other categories.

the grey

Director: Joe Carnahan (The A-Team)

Cast:  Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson

This is a survival story above everything.  We start off up north in Alaska.  Up north at an oil company where there’s a lot of oil workers, we see Ottway (Liam Neeson) who is the man responsible to hunt down the wolves and animals that could attack the workers there that approach the company perimeters.  As they prepare to leave by plane before a storm hits to head home, they all wake up in the midst of a plane crash.  Ottway looks around and finds six men that have survived.  In the middle of an snowy and frozen land, they also get approached by big wolves.  These six men and Ottway decide to leave and keep walking in hopes of finding help and a way to get home or simply to avoid freezing to death or being attacked by wolves.

I had no expectations for this movie when I started.  All I knew was that it had Liam Neeson, bunch of stranded men attacked by wolves and survival movie.  Of course, that was the general idea of the movie and for some, it would sound crazy to just go see a movie for that, but I really did love every moment of it.  IMDB calls it a Action/Adventure/Drama and its exactly that.  Every moment is extremely gripping and intense. Maybe its the fact that we don’t know what could happen next: when a wolf will rush out to attack or when an accident could happen or just when a bad decision could be made or just the weather could rage.  They are in the middle of nowhere and everything is unpredictable.  This aspect really took me into this movie.  On the other side, we have drama and in circumstances that they are in, they made me believe their stories.  It managed to hold a really good balance between being dramatic and intense.

The only actor I knew in this was Liam Neeson and the past movies I’ve seen of his, excluding Batman trilogy and Love Actually, I disliked the movies.  However, I do like him as an actor most of the time.  The other surprising factor in this movie is that the other 6 men are not familiar to me.  I did a bit of research and found that some of them were in flicks I had seen before however, the role they took here is completely different.  Everyone did a pretty fantastic job and portraying different types of personalities and how they reacted to fear.

There isn’t much to say about this movie without it going too into the spoiler zone.  If you like intense, gripping survival stories, this one offers a great take.  I definitely recommend this!