‘Election Year’ seeks to put “The Purge” – an annual night when all crime is legal, designed to reduce the working-class population and the financial burden they represent to the state – in its wider political context.
With a presidential election looming, America’s ruling elite, the “New Founding Fathers” decide to use Purge Night to eliminate the opposing candidate; Purge abolitionist, Senator Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). Roan must survive the night with only professional hard-man, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) for protection.
Despite occasionally clunky dialogue and a slightly predictable plot, ‘Election Year’ is a horror-laden thrill ride that proves both tense and disturbing.
The street purger sequences are a horrific slideshow of gleefully inventive brutality. The purgers’ glammed-up, party aesthetic is delightfully unsettling and, following on from previous films, illustrates the progression of the Purge’s corrupting influence; turning ordinary people into shameless monsters.
The political themes of class division, drastic polarisation of public opinion and the cynical manipulation of patriotism and religion for political ends, makes this movie more than morbid fantasy; it holds a mirror up to the darkest parts of western society, and it’s this that makes ‘Election Year’ the most relevant, and undoubtedly the best, entry in this franchise.