It’s Your God Given Right To ‘Purge’ This ‘Election Year’ (Movie Review)

The Purge Election YearSomething weird happened in 2014.  My girlfriend made me take her to see The Purge: Anarchy in the theater.  Why is this newsworthy?  Hold on!  I’m getting to it.  I like a slow burn.  Haha.  It’s remarkable because of my  disdain of the first entry in this Purge franchise.  I initially absolutely hated the concept and just wasn’t a fan of the film overall.  However, my qualms have slowly faded away over the past years given my love I have for Frank Grillo and his involvement in The Purge: Anarchy.  The one scene where he was screaming at the man who took his son’s life, “you killed my boy,” nearly brought me to tears (and that’s hard to do).  It was one of the best performances of the year in my playbook.  I apologize about the previous spoiler, but I had to emphasize my point to hit it home to accurately describe my change of heart when it comes to the Purge franchise.  So nevertheless, you better believe I was excited for this year’s Purge once I heard Grillo would be back.  Hell to the yeah!

I guess you can call any movie in The Purge franchise a “social science fiction horror” movie.  The Purge: Election Year is no exception.  The latter two in this trilogy certainly have elements of action, but these last two entries are more “social issue” related than the first one, which was basically an isolated horror film.  Also to note is this third film is kind of a direct follow-up to the second one as opposed to the first movie which is a standalone to me.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but just pointing it out in case you did not see the first two entries or worried whether or not you’d be lost if you haven’t.  You’re welcome!

The Purge Election Year 1

So James DeMonaco both helms and wrote this latest Purge story.  I already mentioned before that my boy Grillo is back, but also in starring roles includes such uncommon household names as Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Betty Gabriel, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Joseph Julian Soria and Liza Colón-Zayas.  Our story here takes place some two years after the last Purge movie in 2025 where police sergeant Leo Barnes (Grillo) has become the head of security for U.S. Senator Charlene Roan (Mitchell).  Miss Roan just so happens to be the front-runner in the next U.S. presidential election due to her vow to eliminate “The Purge” after losing her family murderers on Purge-night some 15 years earlier.

Barnes is obviously no stranger at all to annual The Purge.  If you remember from the last flick (which we already established was two years ago), he’s vehemently against it for personal reasons so it makes complete sense he would want to partner and protect Roan at all costs.  The government, on the other hand, secretly has their own agenda that opposes Roan’s plight to stop the annual carnage.  Interestingly enough, because of Roan’s pushing, this may be the final Purge night, but not if the government has their way.   The New Founding Fathers of America forces Barnes and Senator Roan out onto the street, where in typical Purge-style they must fight to survive the night, and maybe, just maybe…if they are lucky, have a little help from A LOT of sympathetic friends (insert a Beatles song here).  After all, that’s what Purge night is all about, right?

The Purge Election Year 3

I guess the irony after watching the politically charged third chapter last night is the fact that whether you like it or not, it did take your mind off the completely insane election year we’re having in real life right here in the US of A.  Who knows?  Maybe Trump or even Hillary would install a Purge-like system in place.  Stranger things have happened.  Tell me the truth, who could have seen Donald Trump winning the Republican party four years ago?  Definitely not I, and I’m willing to be you neither.  So in actuality who’s to say this Purge: Election Year is completely that far off the mark?  Well, I am.  And let me tell you why.

Remember me telling you way up above that I hard a hard time dealing with the concept of a “Purge?”  Well, this third chapter makes it even more difficult for me to continue to play along in the same proverbial sandbox.  On top of all the politics and typical Purge-like festivities from the first two films, now the filmmakers decide this is as good as time as any to inject pulp comedy (way too much for me after awhile) and religious cult worshiping into the mix too.  Don’t get me wrong, the positives outweigh the negatives for me here, but come on, all I care about is Frank Grillo kicking arse. Deliver on that, and you already have a positive score from me.  If you cheated and looked ahead below, then I guess you already know Frank Grillo did just that, but I digress.

The Purge Election Year 2

So I said the positives outweigh the negatives in The Purge: Election Year.  They really do.  There is a system of checks and balances going on here, but overall I like the direction they took this in instead of just delivering the same Paranormal Activity-like story movie-after-movie.  However, when you shake the formula up, be prepared for a little backlash if it doesn’t work out as nicely as you expected it to.  Even though the concept of The Purge is ridiculous altogether, the stakes and the graveness of the situations (running and fighting to stay alive) the onscreen characters find themselves in this story are what keep you the viewer in the game here.  As an added bonus, and this may sound cliche but I found them extremely effective here, are a few jump-out-of-your-seat scare moments.  Bravo!  They were done right, out of nowhere and they didn’t feel cheap or cheated, but rather earned.

Now along with the good comes the bad.  I mentioned the excessive pulp comedy a few paragraphs up above.  After awhile, I grew very numb and desensitized to all the racist jokes.  They were funny at first, but quickly wore their welcome out.  I felt like I was watching Halloween: Resurrection a few times.  The religious and cult like aspect of this third entry kind of cheapened things for me too.  I’m not sure why though.  I mean where else could this have gone with this?  I guess running and fighting to stay alive every minute of the night is enough for me to have a good time with, but they kind of beat a lot of concepts down on you here.  In all honesty, the editing cuts could have also been a lot quicker.  There seemed like a lot of dead space in certain scenes.  However, there were some really cool and unexpected kills at times.  At least we will always have that going for us here.

So somehow even after this third entry and a cop-out attempt at the end to promise even more, The Purge series continues success here with not only its zany self-awareness, but also what draws people to the theater in the first place…its crowd-pleasing carnage that’s very bountiful and quite entertaining this time out.  In other words, The Purge: Election Year is very effective.  There’s Frank Grillo, body count and the question of whether or not how far fetched is this reality?  I think it’s very, but again, look at our political candidates this year.  God help us all.  We just may have to purge after all.  I mean all that matters is how much good the Purge does, right?  Haha!  I set you up for that one.  What are you waiting for?  It’s your God given right to Purge.  Go out there and “watch” it!

The Purge Election Year Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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