With a controversial election coming up this year, the commercials for The Purge: Election Year really got people’s attention. Airing TV spots that seemed eerily like real political commercials we’ve been seeing, the “I Purged” campaign was satire at it’s best. When you don’t think too deeply about it, we all have someone we’d like to purge and not get in trouble for. After seeing the third movie in The Purge franchise this week, I started thinking about how little I know about politics.
Remembering the first Purge movie, it told a story about people in suburbia and in contrast we learn what happens to people who are poor or unable to protect themselves when each year’s Purge takes place. If I was a rich person in this future, I would be very unhappily surprised to find out my upper class neighbors and the woman I go to fashion shows with at the country club were dancing on lawns with chainsaws, wearing scary masks and purchasing people to murder. But that is not me.
So even though I enjoyed The Purge as a well done horror movie, I never really could relate, being that I am stuck in the exact center of the economic system. I’m not poor, and I’m not upper class. I would be one of the folks struggling with the whole concept and wanting to know when it would stop. I would also be one of the people willing to help someone, so that would put me dead center again, but now a target.
Next came the sequel The Purge: Anarchy. In that movie, the dystopian future starts with someone stuck outside when it all begins. Now set in Los Angeles, I think, yup that would be me, stuck out there with a broken car when the siren goes off that announces the beginning of the violent and chaotic night. I liked the movie, though. It was interesting learning what it was like out in the streets for more groups of people. What they didn’t really explain in the first movie, was now the story in the second one. I wanted to know why people feel the need to purge, how the purge came to exist and be legal, and why it seems like it is mostly the poor and the lower class that are murdered. The Purge: Anarchy answered most of those questions.
Now maybe I am just naive, but a part of me can’t help wondering if our world could come to this. After going to horror movies like say, A Nightmare on Elm Street, I don’t go home worrying about whether it could really happen, whether Freddie is going to haunt my dreams and kill me. No, I think about how cool the gore was and how I can recreate the special effects. The Purge: Election Year made me very tense. It brought out the concern that with all the gun violence on the news everyday now, it seems that is this really the way our future is heading.
Could a corrupt government actually find a way to do away with the people they don’t want to pay for?
I realize that the movie is meant to be a political satire and should bring out these thoughts. The movie did it’s job, it affected me a lot! I hope there is no one that hates me that badly that they are just waiting for Purge day to off me. I believe totally that insurance companies would jack up their rates on Purge night and leave people unprotected. I hope that no teen girl is really so concerned about revenge on a shopkeeper that catches her shoplifting that she would turn into a murderer. And when I saw a wife calmly burning her husband, it totally gave me the chills.
The scenes of people in costumes, with custom cars and Mad Max type weapons, are very compelling visual parts of the movie. The dark, shadowed, 70s style lighting, the “murder tourists” here for the night from foreign countries, creepy characters in their masks dancing in the streets, murderers using guillotines and trip wired weapons to kill without getting their own hands dirty are some of the coolest parts of the movie.
Deep down inside, I don’t believe that something like this could ever happen in our government — but with the scary state of our presidential election and the brutal assaults we hear about almost everyday, it’s hard not to feel like The Purge movies get a bit too close to reality.
The extremist religions and the political economics I don’t understand make me wonder. The quote from the move: “Blessed be our New Founding Fathers for letting us Purge and cleanse our souls. Blessed be America, a nation reborn,” and the scene with purge written across the Lincoln Memorial, with bodies strewn about, were very powerful and thought provoking moments.
I realize I didn’t explain the plot of the movie at all, just how it made me feel. The movie this time is set in Washington DC. In The Purge: Election Year, we find ex-police officer Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who chose not to kill the man who killed his son in a drunk driving accident, is now the head of security for U.S. Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), the front runner in the next U.S. presidential election. Roan has vowed to eliminate the Purge after losing her family to sadistic murderers on the night of the Purge 15 years earlier. Barnes also continues to campaign against the Purge after witnessing the deaths during his night on the streets two years ago.
The government secretly opposes Roan’s campaign and plots against her to keep her from destroying the Purge. On the night of what could be “the final Purge,” a betrayal from within the government at the hands of the New Founding Fathers of America forces Barnes and Senator Roan out onto the street, where they must fight to survive the night. For the most part, the good guys stay good guys and the bad guys mostly get taken care of. No one disappoints us and goes from good guy to purger, even though it would make sense, I think, in real life.
I think The Purge: Election Year is a movie worth seeing this summer. It gives us a lot to think about and hopefully will get people out there voting, if just to make sure you have a real say over what could happen to our future. Hopefully the world can come up with better ideas than murder. Maybe the real purge should be the groups and politicians that are pretending to make things better for the public, when it’s really about their own self-interests.
Final Verdict: 3/5 Zombies