2015 was a year of pop culture joy, but also of deep disappointment for the Complex Pop Culture squad. This week, we'll each share what was our greatest pop culture disappointment of the year.
This has been the worst fucking year ever. Let me tell you why. So, my life exists in two phases—B.P. and A.P. (Before Purge and After Purge)—and there has been a significant void in 2015 since there was no GODDAMN PURGE MOVIE. And I don't expect a Purge sequel to Beyoncé its way into theaters in the next three weeks because 1) that's not how movies work at all and 2) life is trash. A Purge 3 WAS supposed to drop this year—I'm not being bratty for no reason—but where the hell is it? And what the hell am I supposed to do with all this unpurged energy within me?
Instead, Purge 3 is coming out next summer, an entire 365 days later than I had expected. Honestly Purge 3 should have happened this year, with Purge 4 in 2016, and then a Purge movie every year for the rest of eternity. Just as a purge happens once a year in the movies, so should a Purge movie IRL. Why? Because the Purge series is a cinematic treasure, that's fucking why. Forget the 38% Rotten Tomatoes rating on the first film—how brilliant of a concept is "One night a year all crime is legal???" In the film's 2022 universe, crime rates have gone down significantly because for 12 hours one night a year (from 7 p.m. on March 21 until 7 a.m. March 22), all crime goes unpunished. People save up their violent urges all year for one night of senseless violence, all within the law. Think about it: a government-sanctioned massacre! Of course NO ONE commits low-level crimes, like there's not even a theft or fraud. No one even torrents anything illegally. It's all bloody murder, as it should be.
The first Purge, which came out summer 2013, is a home invasion horror in which the perfect lives of Ethan Hawke and his family are disrupted. Because they are bougie gated community people (and because Hot Horror Dad Ethan Hawke just happens to work for a security system company) they are able to enjoy the purge from the safety of their locked-down abode every year. But of course this isn't a movie about Ethan Hawke chilling at home. There will be blood. Though they never meant to participate, the fam gets roped into the middle of the shitshow when their well-meaning but too-trusting son (played by Max from Parenthood) lets in an injured stranger—a black man running away from a bunch of bratty, machete-wielding white kids (intentional or not, race relations plays a huge role in both Purge movies by the way). It's probably a white upper class dream come true, which is the most terrifying part of it all. Anyway, the main takeaway from Purge is this: SMH WHITE PEOPLE.
Race/class commentary ramps up in the 2014 sequel, The Purge: Anarchy, which is basically about rich-ass white people hiring skateboarding minions to snatch up people off the streets so they can put them up for auction. Then the highest bidders get to hunt and kill the kidnapped, Hunger Games style. Fucked up, right? Rather than taking the horror format of its prequel, though, the second Purge is an escape thriller. There is no Ethan Hawke in this one, but a charismatic leader with nicely coiffed hair and expert fighting skills (Frank Grillo) instead leads a group of stranded people to safety. Some of them are annoying as fuck and you kind of wish they would die (*cough* a certain married couple *cough*) but for the most part it feels like you're in some sort of booby-trapped maze trying to survive. It's fun! Indulge! If you haven't seen The Purge: Anarchy yet (wtf, get on it) I won't spoil the ending for you but there's some serious sequel possibilities there. But also, a Purge prequel would also be amazing. Like a Purge origin story? Very here for it.
Even though my 2015 was completely ruined by the lack of a new Purge movie I guess that only means 2016 will just have to be a better year. Here's to looking forward...