The Purge: Election Year Movie Review
A movie with a message is a dangerous thing, especially if it neglects what made its predecessors so popular. The Purge: Election Year wants to tell you that the government is killing poor people--and it does that in spades--but gone is the edginess, the brutality and the terror that the mini-franchise is known for. The Purge: Election Year doesn’t get my vote.
Neither The Purge nor The Purge: Anarchy are great films, but both have a slick, B-grade charm to them, with Anarchy being especially fun as writer/director James DeMonaco reveled in the absolute bonkers world he created, one in which people are free to kill freely for 12 hours. The Purge: Election Year maintains the same general tone, but the underlying themes in Anarchy are now in-your-face overt, the absolute zaniness you want to see forced to the sidelines.
To say The Purge: Election Year is boring wouldn’t be entirely fair--something is always happening, the characters always propelled forward--but the movie is far from enthralling. There’s less action, less horror, and fewer apeshit what-the-fuck moments, and that’s a problem. It’s mildly entertaining, but inconsistently so. The threat of the Purge feels subdued, its ruthless perpetrators less frightening.
This is what happens when you try to do too much. The Purge was a home invasion horror flick, nothing more. The Purge: Anarchy was simply an expansion of that universe, an action film in the middle of a nightmare. The Purge: Election Year has more plot than the other two films combined, and can best be described as a political commentary with some action scenes.
While the commentary may be applicable to the current climate, it shouldn’t be the central tenant of a franchise based on violence and terror.
The Purge: Election Year isn’t awful; if you liked the last one, you’ll find something to like here. But it’s beginning to feel long in the tooth, the teeth not as sharp, and is a major step backwards. Next candidate, please.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.