Movie Review - The Purge: Election Year

Every Purge movie I have seen gets creepier and creepier, and The Purge: Election Year is no exception. The first Purge, in 2013, surprised us all by being a massive box office success, and its follow-up, 2014's The Purge: Anarchy, was just as creepy as the first one. In Election Year, we do get one recurring character (Frank Grillo) but otherwise, per tradition, we get an entirely new cast in this film.

Senator Charlie (Charlene) Roan is against the Purge, and always has been - the film opens with a clip of her younger self being held hostage on Purge night along with her parents and brother, and she was the only one to survive that night. She's now running for President, and is doing well in the polls; however, this year on Purge night, the rule that "level 10" political people cannot be murdered has now been revoked, so she's going to have to find a safe place to spend the night. Her head of security, Barnes (Grillo) is in charge of making sure her house is secure, since she thinks it would send a bad message to hole up in a safehouse, but the night holds some twists and turns that neither of them saw coming.

At the same time, a local grocery owner (Mykelti Williamson) has just found out that his Purge night insurance has gone up thousands of dollars, so he can no longer afford to pay it; because of this, he'll be guarding the store himself that night. A local neighborhood woman (Betty Gabriel) drives around in a triage van on Purge night, and she says she'll be available to help him, if needed - which is good, because later on in the night he will definitely need the assistance.

There were a few separate stories going on in this movie, and then later in the film they all become entangled. A young woman and her friend try to steal from the grocery store early on in the movie, and the owner catches them and makes them give back the candy they stole - so of course on Purge night, they show up at the store, wanting revenge. The Senator is later forced out of her home, due to unexpected circumstances, and so she and Barnes end up on the street on Purge night, somewhere you definitely don't want to be. Later these two stories will mesh, as well as a side plot involving a rebel group who wants to kill the other presidential candidate, as they are against the Purge as well.

Yes, see this film, especially if you've seen the previous two. Wikipedia calls this movie a "social science fiction action horror film" which is an interesting description - I suppose it technically is a horror film, as unspeakable acts are done throughout, but I usually dislike horror, so to me this is more of an action movie. It's also a "social science" film though, as it's usually the rich white people that end up doing all the Purging - in this installment, especially, it's the poorer folk that end up getting killed on Purge night, and there's some commentary throughout the movie to support this too. The end of the film makes it sound like this may be the last Purge movie, too, but I hope it's not, as it has become an entertaining franchise, especially for those who enjoy dystopian-esque movies.

The Purge: Election Year is in theaters today, July 1st, and is rated R with a runtime of 105 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

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