The Purge: Election Year – Film Review by Fran Winston
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Betty Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Raymond J. Barry, Edwin Hodge
In cinemas August 26th
I must confess to really enjoying the original The Purge but I wasn’t as enamoured with the 2014 follow up The Purge: Anarchy. This meant I had mixed feelings about this before I even saw it which isn’t ideal when you are trying to be objective.
It opens in 2022 with a young girl Charlie Roan (played as a grown up by Mitchell) and her family all falling victim to a Purger (I am working on the assumption that everyone knows the basic premise of the movie series at this stage). She is the only remaining survivor and 18 years later she is running for President and one of her main platforms is abolishing the Purge. Purge night falls mid election campaign and unlike previous years the rule protecting government officials is recinded making her as much of a potential victim as any other citizen. Relying on her head of security Leo Barnes (Grillo reprising his role from the last film) to keep her safe it soon becomes apparent that more nefarious forces may be using the Purge as a way to eliminate her. As Purge night escalates she finds herself fighting to survive the night and live to see the election.
The fact that it is actually election year in the USA must surely have been on the producers minds when making this but even they couldn’t have realised how crazy that race would get. To be honest it makes some of the tactics used by candidates here seem pretty tame. Joking aside though, this is a welcome addition to the series. Less claustrophobic than the previous offerings it gives us more than just a family trying to survive the Purge and ups the stakes somewhat. As I said I wasn’t mad about the second offering but Grillo acquits himself well here and seems more comfortable sharing leading actor duties. Mitchell is an old hand at roles that run her through the gamut and she is an always reliable choice and doesn’t disappoint here.
On the whole, this is more of the same but with a more interesting narrative. As with previous offerings there is gore galore and Purgers come up with increasingly creative ways to expend their anger. If you are looking for quick and nasty thrills (if that’s what you’re in to) then this won’t disappoint. As threequels go this is a solid offering that will appeal to fans of the series (and there are plenty of them) but it is not for the squeamish. Very much in the B movie vein, this is a slasher horror dressed up as a political statement but for those who enjoy blood, guts and paper thin plots this should prove a winner.