Genre: Action, Dystopian, Horror, Thriller.
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Joseph Julian Soria, Betty Gabriel, Terry Serpico, Raymond J Barry, Edwin Hodge, Kyle Secor, Liza Colon-Zayas.
Year Of Release: 2016
Certificate: 15 (UK) PG-13 (US)
Runtime: 109 Minutes
Director: James DeMonaco
Synopsis: “Years after sparing the man who killed his son, former police sergeant Barnes has become head of security for Senator Charlie Roan, a Presidential candidate targeted for death on Purge night due to her vow to eliminate the Purge.” IMDB
If you’d have told me after the first “The Purge” film, I’d be sitting here reading a third instalment in the franchise I’d have scoffed and showed you the door. The first just failed to deliver for me, and pretty much all accounts, the second was a vast improvement. Was the third another step in the right direction?
The film takes place after the events of “The Purge: Anarchy”, the year is 2010 and the Roan family are all bloodied and tied to chairs, the purgers taunt the family before massacring the entire family except for Charlie Roan. Jump forward 18 years, and now the aforementioned Charlie Roan now played by Elizabeth Mitchell is running for US presidency with a bid to shut down the “Purge” program for good. Cut to the “real world” and store owner Joe Dixon (Williamson) is discussing the campaign with a couple of friends Marcos and Laney. Little do these lowly store workers realise, their little store is about to become the centre of all things evil on Purge night, the day of the Purge the shop is victim to an attempted shoplifting, Joe catches her in the act and she swears revenge. As the night closes in, Senator Roan is home with her security detail in an attempt to ride out this hellish night. After an attempt on her life Senator Roan and Barnes (Grillo) escape and find refuge in Joe’s store, with a hit team after the Senator and Joe’s shoplifters returning with a gang to bring carnage, the store may not be the safest place to ride out the storm.
One thing the Purge films throughout the current trilogy have not got wrong at all is the casting, the only original cast member left is Edwin Hoodge as Dwayne Bishop, whose very secretive and allusive character reaches new depths in this instalment and giving his character a lot more reason for appearing in all three films. The only other returning actor is Frank Grillo who appeared in “The Purge: Anarchy” as the badass Sergeant Leo Barnes, Grillo rarely fails to deliver when his roles involve a bit of ass kicking, this time around is no different, the best new addition to the cast is Mykelti Williamson who plays Joe Dickson the store owner. A more relatable “everyday man” is what the series needed, another very welcomed addition to the film was Elizabeth Mitchell, who in my opinion is one of the finest TV actresses of this generation so seeing her get more breaks on the big screen is very welcomed.
Director and writer James DeMonaco gets the best out of his tiny budget (in comparison to films released this year), delivering some brilliant action sequences that expel grit and the pain of what the Purge is all about. The third instalment by DeMonaco has lost a bit of an edge in the intensity department, it’s less edge of your seat this time around, more shoot ’em up, which on the surface sounds like a bad thing and to some it may be, I personally enjoyed the more Action vibeof the film. However, I would love the fourth instalment to get back to the thriller and intensity of the previous film. While film doesn’t take the monumental leap from the second film, it is still a step forward in my opinion, some have claimed the film is treading water and I get that to an extent, that being said. I think how more of a core shift the second one had, the third is following suit set up and the franchise found the footing to go forward. DeMonaco took what at the core made second so good to another level, with a more Action vibe.
Overall, I can say without any doubt this franchise continues to get better with each instalment, the “Election Year” has strayed a little further from the Horror genre to a nice mixture of Action/Horror/Thriller which is exactly the tone they should have went for from the get go. While the third film is lacking in intensity, it makes up for it with some great action. Third films in trilogies seem to get a lot of slack, this film brought exactly what the franchise needed new characters, returning favourites and pushes the story forward in a way it was feared it would not. At 108 minutes, the film isn’t long at all, while it could have been a little shorter it doesn’t feel like a near two hour film, it definitely has a popcorn flick vibe about it, which is by no means a bad thing.