-Although more self aware than its predecessors, The Purge: Election Year is filled with more political ineptitude.
Look, chalk it up to the weary attitude of this reviewer, but there was pretty much no way that I was going to like The Purge: Election Year after seeing the trailers. Masks or no masks, patriotism or no patriotism, the films represent a failed political message and a series that can’t find its way between good horror with subtext and big, dumb action.
It instead is caught somewhere in between, the dream project by writer/director James DeMonaco, who seems to believe that he’s written the next great political protest film, when in reality, the concept could’ve been concocted by a ten year old. “Oh, one night a year where rich people can afford weapons/security and kill poor people who can’t? #classdivides”
The plot is exactly that, except this time, anti-establishment liberal senator Bernie Sanders, just kidding, it’s senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) debasing the new founding fathers and calling out The Purge for reinforcing class divides. Her head of security (Frank Grillo) appears to have everything ready to have her survive the purge night and keep her campaign alive, but the new founding fathers send hit men after her, leaving her and Grillo on the run. They team up with a local deli owner and his clerk (Mykelti Williamson and Joseph J. Soria) when they were staked out protecting their store after their “Purge Insurance” was dropped. Small businesses are still the backbone of our nation, folks.
The next two hours is the same as the last one, a rag-tag team of anti-Purgers just trying to survive the night against the crazed public. One girl just really wants a candy-bar, so she tries to shoot up Joe’s Deli. (This actually happens.)
Regardless of the political implications of the series, and they are so, so stupid and surface level in their criticism, the films don’t really offer much else. If I had to pick one of the three, this would be it, because it becomes more self-aware and intentionally fun than the two previous ones, but by doing this, it also really cuts down on the horror aspect. This film is not a horror film, it’s an action film. Frank Grillo, like always, is game, but the same cannot be said about the rest of the team.
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
Genre: Horror (ish)
Director: James DeMonaco (‘Purge’ series)
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph J. Soria, and Edwin Hodge
RT Score: 53%