Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Movie Review: Purge Election Year

I struggle to find horror movies I don’t want to see. The idea of being scared or having your ideas shaken is well worth $6. In the case of the Purge movies, I’d argue they’ve done more with less than any other series (barring the Paranormal Activity movies) than most. The concept from the first movie was an introduction, a primer, to what was to come. With a star cast, the first movie followed Ethan Hawke as a home security sales person as he and his family fend off their neighbors during the annual purge, where American citizens are given the right to kill anyone for 12 hours. Sounds ridiculously crazy, right? Well, let me warn you now, if you’re of the conservative bent, you might want to just stop reading. The Purge movies have moved on to something far less subtle than expected, but something that is desperately needed in this day and age.

In the second Purge movie, Anarchy, the movie follows a cop (or former cop) who decides to kill someone who killed his son in a drive-by. Instead of getting to do that, he ends up intervening and saving some lives and ends up not killing the man who killed his child. This act ends up saving him. In the third movie, Election Year, the story follows this same man as he is the primary security detail for a Senator (played by Lost’s Elizabeth Mitchell). At a younger age, the senator watched her family get killed on Purge night and has now decided to run for President and oppose this barbaric tradition.

In a beautifully overhanded way, the story places Mitchell’s senator against the clear conservative, right, white-majority (basically all Republicans). The movie even cites the NRA as a clear sponsor for the Purge, which, in hindsight makes perfect sense. The movie continues with the villains being the white majority, the ones who have everything. At one point, one of the character states that the Purge benefits the rich by reducing the number of people that need benefits or ‘handouts’ from the government. Looking at the political climate now, I’d argue that these are similar tenants to what the Republican party is preaching now. Many of the ‘poor’ in this scenario think the Republicans are looking out for their best interest, when in actuality, they are lining their own pockets, as evidenced throughout the movie, but also in real life. The current Republican candidate has made money on the backs of those that have actual done the work, and the Purge shines a bright light upon this.

After leaving the movie theatre, I felt quite emboldened. How is it that the rich, white majority gets to dictate everything in this world? How is it possible that there is such a large minority (that comprises a majority if they vote together) is on the short end of the stick 99% of the time because a small group that used to profit of off slaves. This point was actually brought up to me recently and it resonated, more than I liked. The rich, primarily white, have always profited off of not paying people fair wages. Those groups want that era to return. By allowing the Republicans to continue to steer the discussion to things that are irrelevant, they are neglecting the ability for people to get a fair chance at success. Isn’t that one of the main ideas behind the Constitution? Everyone should have a fair chance at having a good life? If you listen to Mr. Trump, unless you’re white and rich, you don’t have a right to anything. This movie embodies much of this concept and if you’re young, liberal and educated, you might find it over-the-top, but also just right to angry up the blood.


  1. I'm not a big fan of the first two Purges, but I found this one quite compelling. The political overtones hit really hard, but it works.

    Nice review.

    - Zach

    1. that was what really resonated with me - with everything going on in the world right now, this movie was on point.