The Purge: Election Year (2016)
What once seemed like a premise fit for ridicule has become a franchise I actively look forward to now and swallow whole any incredulity. The Purge: Election Year is something of a lateral move from its predecessor, Anarchy, as it’s not an improvement but it’s still a fun and thrilling entry that provides just enough satisfying gonzo political commentary to temper its action. Finally with the second movie I got the Purge movie I wanted, experiencing the event itself outdoors, and Election Year continues this trend. We follow a small group of minority characters trying to survive the night, escaping from one location to another as they encounter a menagerie of weird, murderous citizens trying to make America great again. A presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) wants to do away with the barbarous Purge practice, and so this makes her a top target during that 12-hour free-for-all. Her head of security, and lone source of protection after an ambush, is played by Frank Grillio, returning from Anarchy and reminding you early and often just what a great action hero he can be. I enjoyed the ongoing shaping and texture of writer/director James DeMonaco’s kill crazy world, whether it was “murder tourists” coming over to America to experience consequences-free killing, the idea of a religious ceremony deifying purging, and even stuff I know is pure trailer candy, like an all-girl gang dressed in creepy masks, princess dresses, and chainsaws. There is some seriously unsettling imagery and moments, though the presence of a white supremacist hit squad dilutes some of the film’s tension simply by being a constant antagonist chasing down our heroes. There aren’t as many new set pieces to further illuminate the depravity of this world as there was with Anarchy. Still, there’s more than enough nasty bite in this franchise. How is this franchise not been turned into an open world survival video game yet? I wonder why everybody just automatically wants to murder during the Purge. I would just probably cheat on my taxes (don’t audit me IRS for this statement!).
Nate’s Grade: B