The Purge: Election Year

Directed By: James DeMonaco

Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Mykelti Williamson

The political conventions are coming this month, and there's a lot that could potentially happen over the next several weeks.  With donors backing out left and right, the Republican convention is seemingly in turmoil.  It's also not clear who is willing to hold their nose and risk political suicide as Trump's vice presidential pick.  On the other side of the aisle, we have a definitive loser in Bernie Sanders refusing to quit.  At the same time, we might need him after Former President Bill Clinton decided that it was a good idea to have a private meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the woman who happens to be the head of the government organization investigating his wife for her improper use of a personal email server.  A political genius, he may not be anymore.  Putting the election minutiae of the week aside, we've got a film jumpstarting this Fourth of July holiday weekend with the political philosophies of the day on full display.  That's right.  I'm talking about The Purge: Election Year.

Since she watched her family get slaughtered years ago, Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) has been on a singular mission, to end the Annual Purge.  Becoming very competitive in the polls for the presidency this election cycle, she just might be able to dismantle this sadistic piece of American culture.  Given her success on the campaign trail, she's a natural target, and Sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) fears for her safety, and he should.  The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) will do anything to keep the Purge in place because it's a way of minimizing the low income population while lining their pockets.  With the annual festivities coming up, the NFFA decides to do some spring cleaning.  Lifting the immunity for level 10 government executives and hiring white nationalists to capture their political nemesis alive, Senator Roan is most assuredly in danger this year.  As fate would have it on this bloody night, the senator is going to need the help of convenience store owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Dixon) and his loved ones.

The Purge: Election Year
is the best installment in the franchise to date.  It's as bloody and violent as its predecessors and possibly more frightful.  Even with that, it's far more political than the prior two installments as it serves up a healthy dose of commentary on the conservative movement's overarching war on the poor and minorities.  Highlighting all that's wrong with this movement, it particularly hones in on their perverted use of religion to justify this war. The way in which characters cling to their right to take part in the ultra-violent purge ritual is not too dissimilar to the way in which certain Americans cling to their right to bear arms.  All in all, director James DeMonaco's work here is a delectable mix of horror and satire.  As a left-leaning moderate, I most certainly approve of this.  

What's equally impressive about The Purge: Election Year is its comedic sense.  I've rarely seen horror movies that have made me laugh as much as this one.  DeMonaco is able to really mix thrilling scares with comic relief by relying on some of his supporting cast, namely Mykelti Williamson in his often hilarious performance as Joe Dixon. As Chris Tucker put it in Silver Linings Playbook, DeMonaco decides to black it up in this third Purge movie.  Under DeMonaco's direction, Williamson in particular is charismatic and tells it like it is.  He pulls no punches in his witty commentary as this annual nightmare unfolds, and we can do nothing but appreciate the humor it adds to the film.

The Purge: Election Year
continues the strong slate of horror films we've had this year.  It's also quite a fitting movie for an election year in which the conservative movement is arguably in shambles.  This third Purge movie gets a strong 0.06% rating.  Have a few glasses of Merlot with this one.  Purge and purify.