The concept is simple – any and all crime will be legal for 12 continuous hours in one night. Based on this idea alone, 2 movies have already been made in this film series and this third one only gets better. Created by American filmmaker James DeMonaco, who helmed the first 2 films, DeMonaco returns to direct this final instalment, The Purge: Election Year.
The annual Purge occurs once every year in the month of March, and after 2 years of its implementation, the American government and its people begin to realise the side effects of purging. Much like the real-life Brexit saga, America is now split on whether they should remain with this concept, or leave it behind as history. Those pro-Remain are the New Founding Fathers of America, or NFFA, and anyone else not part of them are considered against it. So the dilemma now stands as to whether to continue with the very obviously socially degrading intent of killing, or abolish it altogether to save the lives of the less fortunate who are unable to defend themselves.
As its title suggests, this puts the film on a political turn, and it remains thrilling as it is dramatic as usual. Christy Coco plays Charlie Roan, Senator and Presidential hopeful who hopes to put an end to the Purge. Frank Grillo, a returning cast member from The Purge: Anarchy, now plays head security bodyguard Leo Barnes whose job is to protect Roan at all costs. With his lean physique and tough demeanour, Grillo gives possibly his best performance to date as the leading man and protagonist in this movie.
Fans of the films will be pleased to know that the same kinds of killings that occurred in The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy happens here again, but it is exactly these merciless killings by mentally disturbed masked men and women that gets people coming back for more. This time, the filmmakers must be commended for having a racially diverse cast and of both genders in strong supporting roles in this film.
Convenience store owner Joe Dixon (Mykelti Williamson), his assistant Marcos (Joseph Julian Soria) as well as his longtime friend and paramedic Laney Rucker (Betty Gabriel) are a group of close friends who find themselves out on the streets on Purge night and have to look out for each other and their safety. As persons of colour, most of the film’s humorous but factual dialogue about black men in America come from them.
DeMonaco paces the film deftly and with clear direction, with no dull moment at any one time. The horror element of the Purge is also utilised to a great extent, giving a good scare or two where possible. Other than the main concept, the Purge films have no fixed storyline and anyone new to the series will be able to jump into this film without difficulty. We can only be thankful that this is and will remain as a work of fiction.
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Running time: 105 minutes
The Purge: Election Year opens in cinemas 14 July.