Bravo to writer-director James DeMonaco, who made last year's sleeper hit The Purge. Rather than slavishly copy the exact same formula for the sequel, DeMonaco has moved the action outdoors, while promising a similar kind of lawless terror inflicted upon the innocent.
The trailer for The Purge: Anarchy begins as the sun is setting on a beautiful Los Angeles day. An anxious couple experiences car trouble on their way home. While that's never a pleasant experience, no need to panic, right? Except their car picked the worst possible time to break down; it's the night of the annual Purge, 12 hours in which all criminal activity, including murder, is legal, and no emergency services are provided.
The first film provided the logic and rationale behind "The Purge," but what matters here is that the couple must find a way to get home safely. First, they have to escape masked men on motorcycles. Then the trailer cuts away to show all the other dangers that await: nasty-looking men on a school bus, a man tossing a molotov cocktail into a trash bin, a curled-lip driver of a sports car, more masked men staring into the camera while masked men behind them push shopping cars, probably filled with plundered goods, all while a chorus sings "America the Beautiful," leading to a climactic moment when a woman says in voice-over: "Just remember all the good the Purge does."
The trailer does several things very well:
1. Sets the premise: must get home or die.
2. Establishes a mood: mean, nasty, violent.
3. Explains what kind of movie it is: suspense, thriller, horror (just look at those masked men!).
4. Distinguishes itself from the original: If you've seen the original, or even just seen the trailer for it, you know it's all about Ethan Hawke and his family, locked up inside as masked intruders try to get inside. The new movie flips the setting; the couple is trapped outside as danger lurks.
Conclusion: Sold! The Purge: Anarchy opens in theaters on June 20.