Written and directed by James DeMonaco, The Purge: Election Year sees the return of Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) and the end to a short, successful franchise. In this last visit to a country that takes a note from an old Star Trek episode “Return of the Archons” – where Landru lets its people legally murder, maim and rape for a few hours – things appear to wrap up nicely.
Senator Charlie Roan (played by the brilliant Elizabeth Mitchell who was so wasted in her role on the Freeform horror snooze-fest “Dead of Summer“) is against the whole purge night scenario. Mainly because she watched her entire family die at the hands of a purge participant as a teen.
Roan is getting quite a following from people who also want to see The Purge disbanded. The opposing party, the NFFA (New Founding Father’s of America, want the senator silenced and the film follows her escape from the opposition party as well as the group of people who struggle to keep the senator alive.
DeMonaco takes this last in the trilogy towards a new direction. He focusses on the “bigger picture” this time around and while we do follow a group of disparate strangers struggling to survive the night it is more about the politics behind The Purge.
Linking the NFFA party to the current Republican party, whose values do seem disturbingly similar to the film’s politico’s way of thinking, was a masterful touch. In a year where America’s “King George” (Donald Trump) was elected president it feels particularly apt.
The Purge franchise has always been about killing off the lower classes. In each film, it is the moneyed classes who do the most killing. While the focus is on the ethnic minorities being allowed to murder their fellow citizens, this time around the process has been given a religious connotation.
Leo Barnes, who was so pro-purge in the second film, is back and he is the Senator’s head of security. He is also a bono-fide tough guy whose mission, throughout the film, is to protect Roan. Barnes is also against The Purge this time around.
DeMonaco moved to end the franchise with this film but with the current political climate in America it seems almost a certainty that there could well be a fourth installment in this cynical and entertaining horror tale.
Looking at the reasoning behind The Purge program which is about saving money on health care programs, food stamps and low income housing (only to apparently spend a fortune on rebuilding structures damaged by the widespread mayhem) it matches the Republican party’s mission statement and intent perfectly.
So why not have The Purge 4? It could be titled “The Trump Years” and feature the players from the current POTUS’ cabinet who are trying so hard to punish the poor for their lack of status. (While greasing the palms of those who lavishly gave donations to the Republican party.)
Armchair politics aside, The Purge: Election Year is a solid 4 star film. It loses a star for basically taking us back to the same story yet again, and for that botched practical stunt in front of the deli.
*The two schoolgirls who return to kill the owner and take a candy bar are struck down by Laney (Betty Gabriel) and her van. The “bride” and her mate are both run over and the vehicle drags them both underneath its carriage. However…The bride is then shown being knocked onto the windscreen of a parked car, which would only happen with a glancing blow.*
There are other things wrong with the film in terms of plot holes and so on but the film is worth watching and does entertain. It features a lot of violence, some cursing and absolutely no nudity.