Film Review – The Purge: Election Year (2016)

, , 1 Comment


The Purge Election Year

The US Presidential Elections are winging their way towards us at fair rate of knots. But before the world gathers round the watch citizens of the United States of America come together to decide on who is the marginally less insane candidate for Leader of the Free World, how about a horror movie loosely referencing the current state of politics?

The third entry into the interesting-yet-misfiring Purge series lands on our plates this week, around six weeks after its stateside opening. Like its predecessors it’s a case of ‘great concept, slight shame about the execution’ as James DeMonaco rattles off another decent and interesting, but not fantastic, piece of schlocky satire.

Electoral campaigning is in full swing and the Purge, the annual chance for miscreants to commit all manner of aesthetically interesting crimes, is a mere two days away. Purge survivor and Presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is running on an anti-Purge ticket against her pro-Purge rival Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor). With the race too close to call, the New Founding Fathers decide to use the annual Purge as an opportunity to eliminate Roan from the race, crush the anti-Purge lobby and smother the anti-Purge sentiment blossoming across the country.

Much like previous Purge entry Anarchy, it’s an excuse to let loose on the streets on Purge night, this time in Washington DC. Frank Grillo’s Leo Barnes has been promoted to chief of Roan’s security, leading her and gaggle of survivors, including an amusing Mykelti Williamson, through the carnage. The caught in no man’s land shtick isn’t new, even for this series, but the gory action is more than functional and the outré poser dystopian aesthetic is still fun to watch.

Election Year doesn’t mince words and it doesn’t make any of its points subtly. By the end we find ourselves in a church watching an evangelical pro-Purge congregation gather together to make a literal sacrifice at the altar, gnashing their teeth and wailing about freedom and chance to make, or rather keep, America great. It’s a little on the nose, perhaps, but there’s a cynicism to DeMonaco’s creation that elevates the material, even if that cynicism feels a tad undergraduate.

[rating=3] | Chris Banks

Horror, Thriller | USA, 2016 | 15 | Universal Pictures | 26th August 2016 (UK) | Dir.James DeMonaco | Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson,Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel