Going into the pre-screening for this film, my expectations weren't terribly high due to my slight ambivalence over its predecessor. I didn't really care about any of the characters; actually wanted one or two of the main characters to just die already.
This film, however, turns it all the round.
It feels as if the first film almost didn't exist, or was so terribly irrelevant, it's not worth mentioning anymore. This film is like... "The Hunger Games" meets "The Following" meets...the dynamic of the survivors in The Walking Dead, while starring a lead that's akin to a Liam Neeson character in basically any action movie he's ever done. I care about these characters, damn it. I want to know how (and if) they survive The Purge.
Given how much senseless violence that occurs in this country, a film like "The Purge: Anarchy" doesn't seem entirely far fetched. Most people lock themselves away, and want no part of it, while a small few take glee in the violence and destruction, quick to crow it's their right, bestowed upon them by their forefathers. This adds an extra, creepy layer to both the scenario and its violence.
That being said, this movie is not goretastic (that's a made up word, I know)--one of the most chilling deaths, involving lots of machetes, we don't even get to see. I am thankful for that. This film shows violence without bashing you over the head with it (no pun intended).
All in all, I'd give it three stars. Yep. It's solid, suspenseful, and contains likable (although sometimes really, really, really annoying characters who you so want to be just...backhand slapped one good time in the face) characters.
I anxiously await its sequel. Or, seeing this one more time.