It’s been a few weeks since my last review, and I’m happy to be back at it. However, this particular review has a bittersweet feel to it. In light of recent events, I watched The Purge with the hope that it may put things into perspective. “At least things aren’t that bad, right?” Well…
The opening scene is reminiscent of Texas Chainsaw or House of 1000 Corpses. You’re placed in the middle of a purge happening that sets the tone for the entire film. Unlike the other two previous installments, this gets dark immediately. The timeline then moves several years into the future, where our leading lady says something that hit me hard. “Murder is our new religion.” The number of moments where art imitates life is staggering, and there are several lateral similarities to our current society. I had to brace myself.
I’m a horror film junkie, and creative gore is always welcome in my opinion. This movie definitely got imaginative with the killing scenes, and the visuals are haunting. (No spoilers, but keep your eyes open for a very interesting car scene.) As for the tension factor, it has the standard jump scares here and there, but it also has moments where it plays on very real fear. The anticipation and suspense are palpable. The action was constant and enticing, even during the story building moments. However, there were a handful of predictable instances where I had to roll my eyes.
I was impressed with the cast and their portrayals, specifically, Mykelti Williamson (Joe Dixon) and Elizabeth Mitchell (Senator Charlie Roan.) They both melted into their characters and left me feeling like I was watching these events play out from the sidelines. Another fantastic performance was given by newcomer, Betty Gabriel, who played Laney Rucker. She nailed her part of the badass with a past.
As I was watching The Purge: Election Year, one thought kept floating across my mind. Is this the future of our country? It is a very real concern. Every undertone of this film is prominent in our lives right now. We fear for our youth, rich people have all the power, and people are killing in a god’s name. Blood for profit is a real life problem. The “New Founding Fathers” who created the annual Purge, are all rich white people. This isn’t a farfetched idea. This is how our country is run. Even more frightening than the murders in the film, is the bloodthirsty acceptance that the NFFA has for it. Hmmm…there’s that art imitating life thing, again. The entire film took the emotion out of killing and loss until the very end. You realize then that it is always easier to cope with death until it happens to you.
The song played during the closing credits is “Afraid of Americans” by David Bowie and Trent Reznor. That is probably the most appropriate soundtrack choice I’ve ever heard in any film.
“The soul of the country is at stake.” – Sen. Charlie Roan