The Purge Election Year
Starring Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Betty Gabriel, Joseph Julian Soria
I will say this for the horror film series, the third installment is smart, scrapping plans for a prequel, in order to cash in on the American election year. Using politics as the main focus in The Purge: Election Year will certainly make an otherwise ordinary sequel more trendy. Writer/director James DeMonaco has stuck with the ongoing series from the beginning. Like it’s cousin Saw, The Purge offers a new installment each summer and will probably run for as many years. Election Year is the first direct sequel, as parts one and two featured different characters in different cities. What might work against this extremely violent and very jumpy horror thriller is the constant real life violence seen daily on the news.
It’s 2025 in America, an election year and citizens are gearing up for the annual purge sanctioned by the United States Government. 18 years ago mother and wife Charlene Roan (Mitchell) was the only member of her family to survive a horrific purge night. Now she has entered the political arena, a senator running for President on the promise to stop purge night and end the violence. She is publically opposed by the New Founding Fathers Administration, whom she accuses of lining their pockets due to the deaths of the low income citizens unable to protect themselves on the annual purge holiday. Roan has chosen sergeant Leo Barnes (Grillo), who had a reawakening two years ago during purge, to head her security team. He will stop at nothing to make sure Roan survives and carries out her promise.
As far as a thrilling experience, Election Day, like its predecessors, provides endless jump scares and other elements you expect from the material.
The Purge series continues to be one of the most diversely casted films in mainstream. Mitchell (Nurse Betty) is the only central white character in a sea of actors representing a truly multicultural world. This latest sequel comes at a disturbing time for our country however, and the narrative more unsettling than ever. Characters shoot other characters in the face while audiences cheer wildly when people “get what’s coming to them”. When I brought up this point, someone asked how this is different than cheering when someone on Game of Thrones finally gets their comeuppance, I didn’t really have an argument, perhaps it’s no different, but it feels different. “Every day in Juarez was like the purge,” one of the characters says.
Part 3 might not be as violent as the previous two or compared to similar horror films. One of the film’s most disturbing elements is a news report featuring foreign citizens coming to America to celebrate the purge event. “We want to be like Americans,” a Slovakian man says being interviewed upon his arrival. “The greatest country in the world”. As far as the films structure, story and plot is concerned, the blueprint hasn’t changed much from the previous two. There are heroes, villains, and expendable minor characters on both sides that will provide a targets for the violence audiences are paying for. As far as a thrilling experience, Election Day, like its predecessors, provides endless jump scares and other elements you expect from the material. However, it’s also the fact it gives you everything you expect and nothing more than also makes it monotonous.
Feels very dangerous given the current political and violent climate the country and world is in at the moment.