The Purge movies are more than an action horror franchise. Of course, it is full of great elements which made the sequels so memorable, but at the same time, the film provides something more. Like a well-placed sociological research managed to tap deeper into the subconsciousness of the global society. The series main premise, that the United Stated in the near future got an annual period of 12 hours when all crime was legal, hit on something very primal and strong in the imagination of the viewers.
It was not long before people in the US and in other places in the world began organizing mass violence in the real world, somewhat inspired by the series, even though these connections are always flimsy and in large part shaped by the news media. But, there is no doubt that the film’s idea left a huge mark on those who seen it, showing them a place of horrors which is strangely familiar to a regular person. Now, there is a new part of the series directed by James DeMonaco and to watch The Purge: Election Year is to get into the same fun and nightmarish world once again.
A Night for Killing No. 3
Like the name says, the event was created so that people could vent their frustration and violent tendencies in a relatively controlled environment, instead of simply snapping in the course of their everyday lives. The first film, which starred Ethan Hawke, focused on a small family that was determined to ride out the Purge period in their secure home. However, they soon come upon a group of young people who desire to break into their home and killed them. The second part took the action to the streets of a city gripped by the event, where car chases and exciting scenes in different neighborhoods added to the tempo of the movie, but also expanded the original intent of the story – instead of a single family, the plot now connected a bigger group of people.
The Purge: Election Year connects with the previous films via its main character, Leo Barnes, once again played by the razor sharp Frank Grillo. But now, years after the event of Anarchy where Barnes spared the man who robbed him of his son, he became the main security officer for a US Senator and a Presidential candidate. She is determined to stop this event from taking place if she wins the office election but she becomes a target for all those who desire to keep hold of this process. Barnes is the one who has to keep her alive and make sure she sees the end of the 12-hour period amongst the living. Aside from Grillo, Mykelti Williamson also does a marvelous job in his role of Joe Dixon, a simple shop owner who gets caught up in the mayhem.
An Expanded Story and a Richer Universe
DeMonaco took on the risky move and tried to somehow tie into the story the rest of the globe, which is present by the fact that there are “murder tourists” who travel to the US so they can participate. This makes the third entry in the franchise its most authentic one, which accepts the lore of the previous ones and builds upon it further. Additionally, the role of the media industry is also explored in the full movie, showing the vicious approach it takes to covering the deadly night. Now you can witness the situations which can be seen in reality as well – a bloodthirsty news media focusing on terrorist attack, natural disaster and other deadly things with a passion. DeMonaco masterfully complements this idea with the notion of elections that take place simultaneously, pointing to a twisted but somehow a very believable version of the US.
A Cutting Critique
In many ways, apart from being an effective action, The Purge: Election Year make its point in a very ruthless manner – there will always be psychopaths who desire to kill above all else. But, the ones who make the difference are the ordinary citizens who either stand by a murderous system or rise up against it. Thanks to a great cast and sharp director you can enjoy great film and wonder where the culture of dominance and violence will eventually take this world.