The Purge: Election Year (2016)

(On Cable TV, April 2017) Every successive film in The Purge series has done better justice to the concept of its premise. Unfortunately, every successive film’s impact has also been blunted by our familiarity with the series, to the point where The Purge: Election Year almost does justice to the enduringly dumb premise, but it still feels like a re-hash given that we’ve seen the first two films anyway. While it flirts with heavier political ideas than the previous film, it undercuts its own material by bringing in quasi-religious snippets that feel tired and cartoonish. Still, the emphasis here remains on the heroes living through the night, blending high and low society in-between a presidential candidate, a shopkeeper and a notorious EMT whose backstory remains blessedly obscure. Frank Grillo’s character returns, but the links between this and the previous installment remain tenuous. Elizabeth Mitchell and Betty Gabriel both make good impressions, but this remains a premise-centric show with a horror film’s fondness for gruesome set-pieces. Exactly the kind of movie that’s dulled by too-frequent repetition. I’m neither too enthusiastic nor too critical of The Purge: Election Year, but it’s a good thing I didn’t watch all three films back-to-back-to-back, otherwise I’m not sure I’d like it as much. This being said, mark me down a nominally interested in a remake ten years from now, but only on the condition that it actually explores some of the ideas of The Purge in greater details and consistency than what we’ve seen so far.

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