For beetroot faced, comedy comb over, agit prop politician Donald Trump The Purge : Election Year’s chant of, ‘Purge and Purify’ must sound like the dream sound bite but for the rest of normal society the film is the latest in the franchise of that rare beast the socio political horror flick where a 12 hour murder spree is legitimate.
The film is one of the very few to have had the same writer / director James DeMonaco for all 3 films which have got more political as they progress. Here the Freedom Fathers, a group of politicians who strongly advocate the annual purge night and are keen to ensure it continues primarily as they covert use it to eliminate the social underclass for economic ends. However they are now fighting an ever stronger presidential Senator Road (Elizabeth Mitchell) who opposes the purge having seen her own family wiped out years ago on Purge night and leads an ever growing opposition to the event. It’s here that the leaders of the Freedom Fathers in an expletive filled rant changes the legislation where government leaders can now be attacked on the night so as to facilitate a squad of soldiers on a mission to eliminate the Senator. They haven’t counted on her personal security, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who’s had his own share of tragedies due to the purge, to protect her. Throw into the mix a shop owner and his assistant, a charitable travelling medical service and a violent underground movement and you have almost two hours of carnage and the early part of the film does indulge its highly distinctive imagery purgers dressed to kill in hellish costume with some grim deaths that are redolent of those in SAW. But all this is quickly relegated to the sidelines for the story as the senator and her body guard struggle to escape the elite squad of soldiers after them.
The first film had a great premise and was a compelling thriller but as the films have gone on to take themselves a little too seriously and this is one that takes it to an increasing extreme and though there’s a suggestion of Republican undertow where at one point the Freedom Fathers are dressed like they’re attending a Nazi rally. Grillo is suitably sombre faced and Elizabeth Mitchell as the presidential nominee is there to put the counter arguments to the films premise. By the end the film is utter carnage with grimly brutal gun shot wounds that bludgeons its audience into submission before the climatic scene which, though draws the film to a close, inevitably can’t resist giving themselves a get out clause for another entry in the franchise.
Here’s the trailer: