The Purge is a silly idea but nonetheless an interesting concept to imagine as a reality. The first had promise but with some of the worst characters in recent memory it fell well short of being even remotely decent. Not to mention the idea of the mayhem that we never get to see taking place outside such a contained storyline. The Purge: Anarchy aimed to fix this by placing new characters in the harsh darkness with all the death and torture to go with it. While significantly better than the first, Anarchy was still a sequel that didn’t live up to the concept of what a night like this could entail and dare I say the excitement that should come with such a visceral idea.
Enter Election Year.
Similar in vein as Anarchy, the third night of primal release allowed this premise, at least for the time being, to fully flourish into the best installment and a much needed breath of fresh air to this perishing franchise. While there are serious moments of life and death and the consequences to what each of these could mean, where this truly shines is in the moments of levity. This is a demented story so most of these “ha ha” moments do include cold-blooded murder but it’s fully aware of itself and how messed up this all is. Much like the characters themselves, this franchise is beginning to fully embrace its psychotic nature and isn’t apologizing for any of it. On screen murder hasn’t been this fun a long time.
Frank Grillo entering the franchise is the best thing that could have happened as he exudes both machismo and torment in a seamless performance of vengeance and heroism. He is tremendous at balancing the darkest moments and the funniest as someone just trying to survive the night. With a strong supporting cast at his side, Election Year is the first in this franchise to finally spread its wings and realize its potential, for the most part.
As fun and violent as this movie is, it’s still mostly throwaway entertainment but it was never really meant to be much more than this. However it did manage the most significant step forward in the direction of relevancy to the times. The upper class manipulates and cashes in on the plight of those deemed by them to be, expendable. Masked as a means to help the country move in better, brighter ways, the purge was nothing more than a means to make profit and rid them the burden of supporting the country they are too busy sucking dry. The rich get richer and the poor die. Sound familiar? Of course this film is a dramatic and over-the-top example of our current state of hysteria when it comes to our country’s seemingly unending problems but however much exaggeration there is, Election Year still manages a surprising amount of honest commentary, both subtle and very much on the nose.
Election Year isn’t anything all that special but it’s a significant improvement from its predecessors and is without a doubt the funnest Purge yet. Equal parts action, comedy, and horror, this installment throws some life back into the franchise and makes the idea of more to come not such a bad thing. For a good time watching some B grade movies, The Purge: Election Year is a viable and worthwhile choice to consider.
Rated R For: disturbing bloody violence and strong language
Runtime: 105 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria
Directed By: James DeMonaco
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 3.5/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls
Check out the trailer below:
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