Review: “The Purge: Election Year” Is Proof the Idea Has Run Its Course



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Posted July 19, 2016 by

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When James DeMonaco’s first Purge movie came to a theater near me I was genuinely excited to go see it. From the trailer, the film looked to have a promising premise and creepy visuals that would at the very least entertain if not scare me. Unfortunately what I got was a good idea with an imperfect execution: the reason for everyone’s anger and need to kill was based on petty differences and the characters all made terrible decisions making it hard to root for them. Then came ‘The Purge: Anarchy”. There was still terrible reasons for people being as blood thirsty as they were (like a guy being mad that his neighbors didn’t lend him salt when he asked), but it seemed as though DeMonaco had decided to do away with the big story idea and revel in the chaos of the situation. Still not a good movie by any means but more enjoyable than the previous chapter. Now we have “The Purge: Election Year”. It feels like they couldn’t decide if they wanted to go campy with it or try to have a message (possibly warning us about what could happen after our current presidential race) so they tried to do both and it just doesn’t hit.

Presidential hopeful Senator Charlie Roan (Mitchell) has had enough with the purge. She’s tired of her country spending one night out of the year killing and torturing each other and she’s determined to put a stop to it. The higher powers obviously don’t like this so the night of the purge Roan must enlist the help of secret service agents to protect her when she decides to not hide and instead relax in her home. You can imagine that’s not going to go well. To show more of the common man, DeMonaco got Mykelti Williamson (known better as Bubba Gump to people my age) to play the part of Joe Dixon — a respectable member of the community that has a checkered past and runs a deli. His main beef in the film is with two young women that try to steal candy bars from his store and threaten to accuse him of rape if he doesn’t let them leave. In case you can’t wait to see the movie to see how that ends, Dixon’s friend (and a woman that he helped get away from her own troubled history) Laney (Betty Gabriel) is a role model to young girls in the city and ends up convincing the girls to return the stolen items and apologize. Throughout the rest of the film, the girls return on the night of the purge in a car decked out with Christmas lights, dawning masks and covered in blood, threatening to get that candy bar they wanted. My favorite quote of the movie being, “I want my candy bar, cocksucker”. Yeah. I know.


So there you have it. Two flimsy storylines to base a movie around yet DeMonaco makes it last two hours with the help of a ridiculous amount of unnecessary slow motion scenes and a lot of shots of people just walking around without talking. What I want to know is why does every character in these movies continue to think it’s a good idea to leave whatever safe place they’re in and begin to wander the streets? You need to hide for twelve hours. That’s it. It seems like a lot of time, but one day a year you need to not take in the sights for a little while and just hide, yet it seems no one in this movie can do that. I understand it wouldn’t be interesting at all to watch characters play cards in the safety of their locked-down home, but find another way to get the action in without them having to continue to make horrible decisions.

“The Purge: Election Year” feels like the last gasp of a series that should have stayed a standalone film. Unfortunately I know that means there will be plenty more, but with the horror genre getting a lot of new and creative directors, movies like this and the ‘Saw’ series are starting to feel like a dying breed. Much like the villains in horror franchises that have come before them though, no matter how many times you think you’ve killed them for good they always rise again.

Before I end this review, I had a couple runner-ups for my favorite quote and here they are:

1. “That’s like the pot calling the kettle brown” – Joe (I also don’t know why they changed the color of the pot. Thought it was to not seem racist but then look at the next quote that made the list)

2. “There’s a whole bunch of negroes walking this way and we’re sittin’ here like a bucket of motherfuckin’ chicken.” – Joe (Yeah…..)

3. A guy gets kicked in the balls and Joe says, “Goodnight, Bleu Cheese”. I still have yet to figure out what this means.

4. Last but not least, the young candy bar thief rounds out the list with two quotes. The first being when she’s trying to seem intimidating and says, “I’m gonna’ get that candy bar”. You know. to really drive home why she’s angry. The second was when they were about to break into the deli and she says, “Here comes your candy girl”. Once again, to let you know how much she really wants to get her hands on that $1.25 snack. ThePurgeEY





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