America The Proud
After the unexpected success of The Purge and the strong turnaround for Archery we were always going to see a third Purge film. And here it is, but with the impending elections in America and the presidential race well under way, could this be the most important film of the year?
The Purge was such a simple idea, what if one night of the year all crime was legal? What would happen? What if it was in the gun capital of the world? What would it be used for? Who would participate? How would it all end?
Throughout the previous Purge movies all of these questions have been addressed in varying degrees and Election Year is no different. This time we are shown who would object to such barbarity, that indeed there would be people who would object and stand up for sanity. If we consider the world this film is being released into we can see that it could have a much more profound and lasting impact than first glance would show.
On the surface, The Purge: Election Year is another run of the mill horror movie about a more blood thirsty America. We are given the standard amount of jumps and scares along with an ample amount of gore; we even have a number of both important and disposable characters who are introduced via ordinary plot devices, that being they live in America. However, this isn’t what Election Year is about, if anything Election Year is tame when put alongside other horrors of today’s releases, but that’s because it’s not about the horror you see on the screen but a tragedy much deeper. The human condition.
Before “Purge Day” even starts we are shown several different aspects of the playing field, and this is where Election Year starts to depart from the standard horror template and becomes one of its own. We are shown a small shop owner who premiums on damage are pushed sky high just hours before the purge, a woman who is trying to do something good on this night for the dammed and an electoral candidate who demands change.
Each of these players contributes something larger to the story and each tale weaves into the other with a somewhat clumsy precision. It’s true that the movie isn’t perfect, but it’s what the film is trying to say that REALLY matters. It is revealed in the opening that the purge is in fact used by the government to control overpopulation and to boost the political success figures. This is only highlighted further with the new edition of “Horror Tourist”, who are foreigners who visit America on Purge night so they can act out whatever demented fantasies they so choose. Election Year is a social commentary of frightening proportions.
As I mentioned earlier, Election Year isn’t the perfect movie, occasionally it loses its momentum and sometimes it will fall into the same old stereotypes that we have seen 1,000 times before in horror films. However if they are honestly the movies biggest downfalls, Election Year is still a powerhouse of a production.
Election Year is a strong end to a pervious duo of movies that took a simple premise and built on it, a fitting conclusion for a new generation of horror fans. Truly ambitious.