Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Movie Review #454: "The Purge: Election Year" (2016)

Movie"The Purge: Election Year"
Director: James DeMonaco
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Image Source
The anti-Purge presidential candidate Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is just one point behind her pro-Purge opponent. In order to keep her from getting elected, the NFFA, or New Founding Fathers of America, change the rules of the Purge by removing the restrictions on killing politicians. Now, her chief of security Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) must do all he can to keep the senator alive through the night so she can make it to election day and put an end to the Purge permanently.

"The Purge: Election Year" is the third installment in writer/director James DeMonaco's "The Purge" series. This politically-driven action horror film attempts to examine social and economic issues, as well as a perceived culture of violence within our country. As these movies have progressed in the series, its political undertones have gotten more and more prevalent and overt, and many people may draw the comparison this time around to our current election year featuring Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, though the parallels end with a woman and a man both vying to become president. Frank Grillo returns as Leo Barnes, who is now the head of security for anti-Purge presidential candidate Senator Charlie Roan, played by Elizabeth Mitchell. She is only polling one point behind the pro-Purge candidate, even a few short days out from the annual Purge. This causes the New Founding Fathers of America, or NFFA, to remove Purge exemptions for politicians and others previously protected who are "ranking 10" officials under the rules of the Purge. The NFFA now hopes to use the Purge to assassinate Senator Roan. After she is betrayed by someone working with her, she and Leo must head out into the thick of the madness of the night and fight for their lives on the battlefield of the Purge, the very thing she so vehemently wants to destroy.

Grillo plays the same grizzled badass he was in the last movie as Leo Barnes, just with a higher paying job. He is willing to do everything it takes to protect the senator and to get her to win the election once Purge night is over. Elizabeth Mitchell feels out of place as senator Roan. She's not really that great of an actress and it shows here. The secondary characters are really compelling this time around. Marcos, played by Joseph Julian Soria, and Joe, played by Mykelti Williamson, own a deli and start the night out on the rooftop ready to protect it. As an argument from earlier in the week comes back to haunt them, they enlist the help of Laney, played by Betty Gabriel, to help them out of a jam. Eventually, all of these people wind up with one another and go about the horrible night as best they can to have each other's backs and stay alive.

The original "The Purge" was a simple, close quarters home invasion horror, and the sequel, "The Purge: Anarchy" was more of a horror action film about surviving a night outside while traveling through a densely populated city. This latest installment, "The Purge: Election Year," is very much another action horror, but with less horror and more action than its predecessor. In fact, it's not so much a horror as it is plain ol' horrific. Of course, all three of these films deal with socioeconomic issues such as income inequality, the over-killing of poor people during Purge night, and the blood-lust people derive from killing on that fateful night once a year. These issues have been brought closer and closer to the forefront as the series has progressed, and now, it is the primary focus. It implies the most wealthy would even go as far as exterminating the poor to make themselves just a little more wealthy. This installment keeps true to the formula featuring cool, creepy visuals with a mass abundance of murder and gore. The scariest part of this film, and really the series as a whole, is the adoration those participating in the Purge seem to show while they are murdering people in various horrifying ways. The Purge has now become a full-on religion, and multiple scenes take place in a church/cathedral for good measure. Those who wish to cleanse themselves on Purge night are free to do so with the blessing of the U.S. government, and in this movie, people from all over the world are actually coming to America to murder people in what has been dubbed "murder tourism," though this plot line gets dropped by the wayside soon after it is introduced.

It's all too much to be honest, and as mass shootings happen more and more frequently within our country, it makes it all the more scary that this could be our potential fate one day. It feels a bit ham-fisted at this point, and we hope there's not another installment, but we know there will be because this one also made money. "Election Year" also has the occasional jump scare, but it doesn't over use them and they are well-timed and effective. If you are a fan of "The Purge: Anarchy," chances are, you will be a fan of this installment as well, though we still think this one is just a small step below that second sequel.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 52%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Magic Mike XXL"


  1. Was this your last Moviepass subscription movie? The streak ended at 364?

    1. We have continually tallied our MoviePass viewings since July 2013, so the 364 number is since then. This year, though, we have seen 100 movies with Moviepass, and our subscription runs out on the 22nd of this month. We were sent the email where we were going to be forced to choose between a $99/month plan for unlimited movies, a $40/month plan for up to 6 movies, or cancel. According to a recent article via Engadget, it looks like those who were subject to their "testing" email will be allowed to rejoin this September. *crosses fingers*