There is no doubt that The Purge has become a guilty pleasure for millions of horror fans across the world. The premise is simple, each film delivers brilliantly directed action packed gore, and with that I’m pleased to say The Purge 3: Election Year delivers another brutally chilling chapter into the universe of the simply mad and honestly crazy ass people. While the film is better than the first film it doesn’t quite hold up to the second film. That’s not really a bad thing.
Here in the US it’s election year and the film centers around a young senator who was victimized 18 years earlier in a brutal attack on Purge night. Which happens to also be on my birthday so this would really suck if it were ever real. The senator is shockingly running as a republican for president of the United States to end the purge once and for all. At her side is Frank Grillo who we met in the last installment. He was the lead that almost purged to get revenge on the man that killed his son. This time he is chief of security and stands strongly with the senator on ending the Purge. The senator decides to basically hide in plain sight on purge night and let’s just say all hell breaks loose. It should be also noted that once again multiple stories are integrated here and a man who runs a convenience store teams up with the senator and Frank to keep her safe once they cross paths.
What works here. The story and the characters arcs in the film are fantastic. Frank kind of struggles to find his placing but it’s kind of the point. The senator is a brilliant lead female character. She’s strong willed and ready to get her hands bloody. The story overall works brilliantly. The idea of the election and opposing parties fighting and killing over power is something that usually is the headlines and feels very relatable. Politics can be a bloodbath. It’s utilized so well that it helps build a lot of emotional attention. I wouldn’t say the film has better scares than the sequel but it certainly offers up some great scares especially from the foreigners. A new idea that was introduced was people coming from outside the US ready to purge and purify. They really did a a good job of utilizing real people purging in a more realistic fashion. Keeping thing simply simplistic. Not just machine guns and big monster truck dudes.
What really doesn’t work is the middle to later half of the movie. It totally lacks scares, tension, and fun. The start does get us interested in the movie but after taking 10 minutes to get started it isn’t long until it all stops and then picks up in the very end. The scares are very hit and miss for the most part but you can’t deny that a few are really really good. A horror movie also has to stick to the rules it sets. It’s made quite clear in the first two films that government officials cannot be killed but with no explanation at all. The rule is lifted here.
In a way I feel like the movie is sort of a mess but it still delivers. It’s fun and worth a watch. The consensus I had with the audience is that it was entertaining. You will laugh when you shouldn’t but isn’t that fun? Just remember it does a lot of really stupid things. Things like setting the opening in 1998 but featuring an iPhone 4. This is the 3rd Purge movie. You know what you’re getting and you may like it more than 2 but I didn’t. They are close though. There’s been a lot of bad horror and it’s been a month since Conjuring 2 welcomed us to the power of the sequel but I’d suggest watching the flick if you like the first two.
The Purge: Election Year is out on Blu-ray and DVD December 26, 2016.
Review by Kory Davis
It's kind of a mess and predictably you know what you're getting, but if you're a fan of the previous two then you really can't go wrong with the third installment.