I'm a huge fan of the first two Purge movies, so much so that my band wrote a song about them (Check out Survive the Night by Lesbian Bed Death on the Evil Never Dies album). To say I was very excited to see this third instalment in the franchise is an understatement. Unfortunately, I missed it at the cinema this year. I'm lucky enough to have three cinemas close to where I live, yet only one showed it. Even then, the movie disappeared really quickly. I was genuinely gutted when I looked at the listings to go and see it and it was already gone. It's sad that Horror movies don't seem to have the mainstream appeal in the UK that they do in America. So alas, my sorry ass had to wait for several months to watch it. I bought the Blu-Ray on Boxing Day, the day it went on sale here. I'm pleased to say it was worth the wait.
If you're unfamiliar with The Purge movies, the basis of them is that they're set in America in the near future, and for one night (7pm to 7am) a year all crime is legal. The political undertones involve the thinning out of the poorer members of the population who can't afford to defend themselves, and consequently the State has to pay out less in Welfare, Housing etc. In addition insurance companies can charge extortionate amounts to local business etc. The cities turn into lawless hunting grounds where murder becomes sport, under the guise of a cleansing of the soul. There are plenty of analogies within the movie regarding corruption within The Church and the bastardisation of Christianity to serve political agendas and justify killing. Like all good Dystopias, the story is really more about the present than the future. It provides a scathing look at modern society and tells a cautionary tale of a frighteningly plausible future.
The first movie was more of a Thriller, whereas the second was more of a Horror. This third movie is definitely more of a Horror sharing the tones of the second. The crux of the story is that the political candidate opposing the New Founding Fathers (played by Elizabeth Mitchell [Lost, V Remake]) wants to end Purge Night for good, should she be elected. Her popularity is increasing, so the ruling party remove the exclusion of targeting politicians from Purge Night, so anyone is fair game. They use this new ruling to attempt to assassinate her. The movie is essentially her trying to survive the night with the help of her bodyguard (played by Frank Grillo, who was also in the previous film).
I'm not going to spoil the movie by going into further detail, but I will tell you that I loved it! The aesthetics of the movie are fantastic, and a number of the scenes are nothing short of being beautiful works of dystopian art. The movie oozes creativity, and the awesome costumes worn by the characters partaking in The Purge provide mountains of inspiration for next year's Halloween costumes! Both the general 'urban danger' scenarios and the looks of the film definitely had a feel that reminded me of Escape From New York and The Warriors. I'm a huge fan of those movies, which is possibly one of the reasons The Purge appeals to me so much. The previous film, The Purge: Anarchy, is one of my favourite movies, and this one topped it. It's action packed and genuinely terrifying in places. The actors are fantastic, and really draw you into the world of The Purge, reminding the viewers that there are no monsters more cruel and terrifying than Human Beings.
The Purge: Election Year isn't just my favourite Horror movie of the year, it's my favourite movie of the year. Utterly brilliant.