The Purge: Election Year Pokes Horrific Fun at 2016 Election

The Purge: Election Year
Image credit Universal Pictures

The Purge: Election Year

3.5 Stars

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My wife and I are fans of The Purge movies, so as we were winding down a weekend getaway staycation I decided we should go see The Purge: Election Year.

The Purge series is a different type of horror movie–almost more thriller than horror. When I think of truly scary horror, I think of things like Poltergeist (the original one), or The Conjuring 2. That’s just me. Movies that deal in the semi-plausible world of the supernatural and unexplained are far scarier than movies dealing with gratuitous homicide for me.

That said, The Purge seems to walk a thin line between reality and the absurd. It seems like something that should be pure fantasy, and yet when you look around you can sort of see signs of how we–as a society–could actually embrace something like this. It’s sort of how the movie Idiocracy should just be a dystopian Dumb and Dumber, yet it eerily resembles what the United States could possibly turn into depending on how the election goes this November.

The second Purge movie was OK, but not nearly as good as the first. In my opinion, The Purge: Election Year is also not quite as good as the original, but it’s much closer. It also took the franchise in a slightly different direction, though, because it’s sort of like a mashup of The Purge and Olympus Has Fallen. It still has all the brutality and gore that makes The Purge great, but this one is built on a premise of a candidate for President being targeted on Purge Night because she has vowed to do away with Purge Night if she wins.

The similarities between the protagonist and Hillary Clinton, and the primary antagonist and Donald Trump are apparently not entirely on accident. Director James DeMonaco told Entertainment Weekly that the current election cycle influenced the movie: “Little things drip into you when you’re writing or you’re on set — you’re grabbing from the ether or what’s out there in the press. I think there’s a lot of representation of everyone who’s in the game right now, from Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders to John Kasich. I’d like to the audience to play with it and see who they feel is representative of the actual candidates in the real world, without me saying who’s who. I think the audience will have a lot of fun saying, ‘Oh, that reminds me of something Donald said!’”

Ultimately, I feel it was a good movie. I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth and that it was worth my time to see it. I will be curious to see if they continue trying to stretch this premise further, or if this will be the end of The Purge franchise.

If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought in the comments below. If you haven’t, go check it out and share your thoughts as well.
About Tony Bradley 67 Articles

Tony is Editor-in-Chief of PopSpective, and a prolific writer on a wide range of topics from movies and music to computer security and tech gadgets.

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