By Daniel Morgan, Editor
“The Purge: Election Year” opened in theaters on July 1, 2016 , and what an appropriate time for it to come out.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, “the purge” is an annual event in which all crimes, including murder, are legal for one night.
Having not seen the previous “Purge” films will not take away from the unsettling scenes that appear on screen. The situation and jump scares are enough to satisfy, but the apparent realization that something like this is possible might leave you speechless.
Some years after the first annual purge, presidential nominee Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) enforces the need to end the disastrous event as the main part of her platform. She was almost a victim of a serial murder herself.
Opposing nominee Minister Edwidge Owens (Kyle Secor) is in complete favor of the purge. He, along with the white-power supremacist members of the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) believe that the yearly killings are beneficial because they get rid of the homeless and those in poverty, which saves the government money.
Very soon before the next Purge, it is announced that no one, not even government officials, will have immunity. In other words, it’s legal to kill anyone.
In another part of town, a shop owner who had just caught two girls trying to shoplift receives a call stating that his purge insurance has drastically gone up. Unable to pay the extra money, he sets out to guard the store himself.
On the night of the purge, Roan and her chief bodyguard, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who was the protagonist of “The Purge: Anarchy,” find themselves double-crossed by the NFFA in a plan to murder her because she poses a threat to the purge and the wealthy’s well-being.
However, thanks to Barnes’ quick wit, the two of them manage to escape her assassins for the time being. Not long after they escape, they stumble upon the shop owner and his apprentice, who agree to help protect Roan.
Soon after that, a triage medical volunteer comes to save them from an attack on the store, and she takes them in her vehicle in a quest for safety.
Throughout the rest of the quest for survival, the true colors of both parties are shown, including Roan herself. We see the radical differences of those obsessed with power and entitlement compared to those who believe in equality and humanity.
The timeliness couldn’t be more perfect as the 2016 election is approaching. The film depicts a system that is frighteningly realistic, yet it also provides a glimpse of a possible future governed by the tyrannical nature of a certain presidential nominee.
Even if it is stripped of the personality politics, “Election Year” still addresses issues of the over-presence of hate crimes, violence, and needed gun control. The film asserts that all lives matter, regardless of race, economic status, political preference, etc.
“The Purge: Election Year” does a brilliant job of mixing the gory horror genre with political satire (and not the comical, tacky type). It should be seen by everyone who can handle the blood and violence as it is one of the timeliest, poignant horror movies of this generation.