The Purge: Election Year (2016) Movie Review
The Purge: Election Year is the third movie (maybe the last) in the Purge franchise, where one night a year, all crime is legal. This film focuses more on politics and controversy of the event. It takes place during the heat of a presidential election, but before the actual election. Senator Roan is determined to be elected and to be the one to put a stop to the violent Purge event. However, on Purge night, she finds herself the target of purging politicians.
The other two Purge movies weren’t the most critically acclaimed but they made a decent amount at the box office due to it’s popularity for teens. The first Purge takes a look at one family in their house, and these last two installments have taken it to the streets and have taken a broader look at The Purge. After the first movie received bad reviews and the second one got a mixed reception, there is hope that this one could elevate the franchise to it’s highest point. Well, it does, but it isn’t saying that much really.
One thing about this movie for sure to know right off the bat is not to take it too seriously, as much as the movie tries to make it. This movie is a sort of dumb, occasionally clever horror thriller that works perfectly fine for entertainment. Of course, the movie does feel dragged out and can lose some steam, but one efficient thing this movie has is an entertaining presence for viewers. That’s important.
The cast here does a fine job. The only person who is actually doing a seriously good job here is Frank Grillo. Everyone else does decent for their role and nothing much else. It’s not like they have Oscar-worthy roles but it’s not like they don’t care either. For the movie that this is, it’s OK and you can just sort of pass it off.
James DeMonaco has directed and written all three Purge movies. Here, he does a fine job. When he has a solid pace and energy going for the project, you can feel the film elevating, but at times his directing can’t keep the film together in a solid pace and therefore it’s a little uneven. However, the work he does here is serviceable and he manages to make this fun and entertaining. Sometimes he thinks he is doing something really cleverly subtle but usually it’s nothing special. The same thing goes for the writing. It can get dumb at times with the silly one-liners, but there are a few clever aspects of it that keeps this from being a totally brainless movie.
The costuming and sets used here all look very good. The costumes really reflect the themes and morals of the characters and the overall theme of the whole movie without feeling thrown in. The film has decent lighting and visual effects, but overall it still looks solid when you’re watching the movie.
There is also a decent soundtrack used here. It isn’t anything really special but for the film, it’s safe to say that it works to the movies advantage.
The characters here aren’t anything special. You do care and root for a number of them and a few of the villain characters do feel threatening, but there isn’t anything special about the way they are developed. The film just makes a group of people look bad and a group of people look good. It is kind of generic but the film doesn’t suffer from that because it’s plenty of fun and that’s all this movie really is. Fun.
Overall, I think the main issue with this movie is how it takes itself too seriously at times and then turns into a brainless thriller. It doesn’t balance quite right at times and can feel a little messy. However, for sure what elevates this movie above the other Purge installments are some clever political aspects, solid action, fun characters and overall a fun movie to watch. It’s a fun movie, nothing more, nothing less. If you don’t take it too seriously, you could have fun. So, watch it if you want to. There isn’t really a clear “good” or “bad” movie here.
CONSENSUS: Although The Purge: Election Year has issues and flaws that are there and hurt the structure of the film at times, it’s still a fun, mostly brainless movie that can be enjoyed for what you get.