The Purge: Anarchy delivers heart-stopping sound and above average picture quality, but a lack of extras makes this release a hard sell at anything over $10.
The Purge: Anarchy is the sequel to 2013’s The Purge, the low budget horror/home invasion film which went on to make over $90 million worldwide on a $3 million budget. Anarchy followed the same formula, keeping the budget low (at $9 million), and continuing to rake in the money at the box office, grossing over $110 million worldwide. Anarchy was released without much fan fare on Blu Ray, as the only copy in the United States was the simple Blu Ray/DVD Combo with Digital Copy and a slipcover (while they last) found here. If you have a region free Blu Ray player or live in most of Europe or Australia, you can get a very nice steelbook from Zavvi which is region locked to Region B. For European fans of the movie or for those with region free players, this is certainly the nicest version of the release. You can find that version here.
Universal Studios typically does a great job with picture quality, and with their release of The Purge: Anarchy they have continued that trend. As most of the film is spent in the dark, with streetlights providing much of the lighting in each scene, it is important that the picture is not so dark that you need to close the shades and shut off the lights in order to see it. This can often be the case with many other horror films, but I watched this one midday with inside lighting on, and I did not have to strain to see the action. This was one of my biggest complaints with the original Purge, as it just seemed too dark on screen. Perhaps the higher budget allowed for some better on set lighting, but Anarchy is quite clear, even in its darkest moments.
There is not much to complain about here, although in a few of the especially dark scenes you can begin to notice some graininess, which should not be present in a modern release filmed on digital cameras. This is something you would only want to see in pictures that were shot on film, which are typically older movies although there are still many filmmakers who shoot on film today, e.g. Christopher Nolan and Interstellar. Personally, I do not mind the grain because it adds to the grittiness of the movie, but for those Blu Ray purists and super fanatics out there, this would certainly be noticeable enough to detract from the picture quality score.
PICTURE QUALITY SCORE : 4.5/5
Anarchy’s best quality is its audio, which is really an amazing mix. It sports a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track, which effectively uses all 5 speakers to give an immersive experience. At times, you’d swear you were on the streets purging, as gun shots, screams, and loud engines roar through the back left and right speakers. Even though many of those sounds are never explored by the cast of characters, it is the atmosphere which they create that stood out to me. When the background noises cease and the action moves into the fore front, the sound will really blow you away. It is extremely loud, even at a lower volume, but never takes away from the dialogue. It is easy to hear the main character yell directions to his group of survivors, even as gun shots whizz by and engines roar towards them. In quieter scenes, the dialogue remains extremely clear. This is not a film where you are going to spend two hours with your hand on the volume buttons, adjusting for action vs. dialogue. It is a great mix and very well done by Universal bringing this film to our homes.
AUDIO SCORE: 5/5
What this release brings with its viewing experience, it greatly lacks in extras. There is a 9 minute “making-of” feature called “Behind the Anarchy”, which is presented in HD but is very generic and does not offer much insight into the film. Deleted Scenes are presented in HD and total 8 minutes, adding nothing to the original film. There is nothing else for extras, and there are no Blu Ray exclusives or special editions which would pack in any more content.
EXTRAS SCORE: 1/5
OVERALL SCORE: 4/5
FINAL VERDICT: The Purge: Anarchy is a much better film than its predecessor, and the Blu Ray is outstanding apart from the extras. Wait for this to drop in price, but buy at around $10 and you will not be disappointed. Recommended.