Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Director: James DeMonaco
Writer: James DeMonaco
Please note: While this film can be watched as a standalone film and still be understood and enjoyed, it does contain references as well as share characters and a universe with the previous instalments in the series. It may be in your best interest to watch the previous two The Purge movies, or at the very least The Purge: Anarchy.
The Purge 3: Election Year would not be what it is today without the following actors, who bring ‘purging’ to life! Let me introduce you to our leads: Frank the tank Grillo and the strong independent woman for change Elizabeth Mitchell. We also have our small gang of dynamic characters, which include: Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria (that’s right -- all three names!) and our third musketeer Betty Gabriel. In the antagonist corner we have Kyle Secor and Terry Serpico!
This third installment to The Purge movies takes place quite some time after the first and second one, but this time someone with brains and a moral obligation decides to stop this purging once and for all: the brass-ovaried Senator Charlie Roan. (If you aren't familiar with the franchise, ‘purging’ refers to the annual act of the government allowing all violent crime be legal for twelve hours to ‘get it out of their system’ to counteract overcrowded prisons.) Shockingly enough, a lot of people are quite upset about this, which includes the current minister and their political party. The ante is upped in this movie when the government allows government officials to be able to be attacked on Purge Night, which was previously the only rule. And now we purge!
Get your knives and get ready to purge because we are going to open this up like a can of soup! Our first purging victim of this movie will be my dislikes. My first and main problem with The Purge: Election Year was the jump-scares. Jump-scares are cheap and easy scares that any filmmaker can toss in to make someones heart skip a beat. I find this is almost cheating in horror movies. If you realize that you need a jump-scare to startle your audience, you need to sit down and find a better way to do things with a much more gradual and suspenseful approach. One thing that bugs me about this movie’s jump-scares specifically is that there is a lot of really cool scenes that are suspenseful and uncomfortable to watch, so I know they are perfectly capable of doing without them.
Another big problem I had was that halfway through the movie I had a popcorn kernel stuck in my gums which absolutely would not -- wait. Let me get back on track. This movie has some humour to it at times, but what I had a problem with is that there were several instances where they missed opportunities to get in some good subtle ironic jokes that were clearly set up for them. Another scene that I feel was tackled incorrectly was when we have a cool dramatic ‘introduction scene’ for the purgers. I was fine with it, but the thing is that later we get another intense introduction, this time with a few extra members. I feel they should have saved it all for the second time. The last thing I did not like was that this movie did have really cool fight scenes, but the shots were very close-up and fast and it was very hard to tell exactly what was going on. The director should have taken some pages from action movie playlists for a movie like this. I am not fond of watching a series of bunch of fast cuts of motion blurs.
Now that we gutted that bastard, time to move on to the second victim on our list. Best hurry up before purge night is over! Our second victim will be: that damn popcorn kernel. Next up, let’s tackle our strongest victim: what I liked about the movie. I did like the cinematography in a few scenes quite a bit. The parts where it shows other purgers were shot very well, and some of them had this weird spotlight shining down on them. While this was not necessarily realistic, I did like it. I think it made scenes just that much more uncomfortable and creepy to watch, and it gave off a dreamlike nightmarish atmosphere, and made the purgers look and feel that much crazier. One thing that I had also liked about this movie is that for the first time you hear some of the purgers reasons for purging, and they are such small reasons with murder an extreme solution. I enjoyed how crazy they made the purgers this time around.
They’re coming rapid-fire now! Another thing I enjoyed was the very cool costumes, which kept me looking forward to what else I was going to see. I also thought the deaths the purgers come up with were creative and interesting. The fact that government officials are now free game also makes things a bit more intense, and is a good add to the story which helps distinguish it from the other two movies. I found the background music very disorienting and it really adds to the atmosphere of the movie. When the characters are out in the open, this, combined with the sharp camera angles and quick cuts, helps to keep the viewers feeling vulnerable and unsafe.
Last but not least, what I had found smart about this movie was that the political party currently in control of the United States in this movie’s universe treat purging almost like a religion. I feel this is a satirical and extreme commentary of the Conservative party and strongly exaggerates aspects of their outlook, while in a sense combining church and state.
Until next purge, my friends, I must bid you adieu. I really enjoyed this movie and I feel the The Purge movies keep getting better as they come. However, that does not mean this film did not leave room for improvement. I would be comfortable and content if this stop is where The Purge movies ended their franchise. I give this movie 6.5 bloody stars and stripes out of 10.