The Purge: Anarachy (15) - ***

The Purge: Anarch- Kiele Sanchez and Zach Gilford. Pic: PA

The Purge: Anarch- Kiele Sanchez and Zach Gilford. Pic: PA

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RELEASED in the summer of 2013, The Purge was a guilty and twisted pleasure.

Set in a dystopian future America, which has legalised murder for one night of the year, James DeMonaco’s home invasion thriller milked every drop of gut-wrenching tension from its fiendishly simple premise.

At the box office, which is Hollywood’s trusted barometer of success, the film took almost 30 times its modest three-million dollar budget.

For the inevitable sequel, written and directed once again by DeMonaco, the action moves forward 12 months onto the streets of Los Angeles, where the divide between rich and poor, hunter and hunted is even more pronounced.

The elderly and sick sell themselves to the upper class families as human sacrifices on Purge night in exchange for a paltry fee for their loved ones and an underground anti-Purge movement has declared war on the New Founding Fathers of America.

In the absence of obvious star names in the cast, DeMonaco relishes the luxury of being able to slice and dice his characters at will, heightening our sense of unease since there’s no guarantee any of them will make it to 7am unscathed.

The underlying social commentary about the class and wealth divide is poorly developed and strains credibility on a wider canvas.

However, as an unabashed adrenaline rush, DeMonaco’s sequel comes close to replicating the nail-biting thrills and blood spills of the original.