The Purge: Election Year  is the third installment of its series that started back in 2013 with The Purge and had a sequel the following year with The Purge: Anarchy. James DeMonaco has directed all three films with Frank Grillo taking the acting lead in the last two films. Election Year shifts focus as it centers the theme of the film on political change in order to eliminate the highly discriminate annual purge. The annual purge is one night every year where any and all crime is legal, including murder. Who’s on your list? Just kidding...keep that to yourself, please.
Award for Best Costume Design goes to: Election Year may not be the best thriller/horror film ever made but where it lacks in overall structure, it more than makes up for with the absolutely jaw dropping costume design. Those who participate in the purge tend to go all out - like kids on Halloween. So when these adults go out to “purge and purify” they put a lot of effort into what they wear - or at least the costume design team for the film did. Neon Lady Liberty, Psycho Prom Queen, and of course the Bloody Founding Fathers. These costumes were unique, incredibly detailed and most importantly they were terrifying.
Thrilling Satire: This series of films always has had a great satirical image. And it continues with Election Year, maybe even more than ever considering the dramatic presidential race in the US. There is a clear contrast between old conservative political views and liberal opinions. Most political satires involve over the top comedy - think of The Campaign . But Election Year takes political satire to the genre of Thriller as opposed to Comedy and it works even better than that same old dull satire we are used to seeing.
Opportunity Missed: Frank Grillo reprised his great revengeful lead from The Purge: Anarchy. Grillo is very effective in this film as Leo Barnes, who is now head of security detail for the politician who is attempting to eliminate the annual purge, but he needed to have more of a consistent presence. As the film progressed, Leo lost his usefulness as more supporting characters entered the story. Leo was the best part of the second installment in this series and he easily could have been the best part of Election Year. Perhaps James DeMonaco wanted to take a different path - the wrong path.
Is that All?: A major downfall for Election Year is the predictability. The script led the audience instead of letting us guess and ask questions. This made some of the acting dry and not very colorful. Election Year will go down as the weakest film in the series as far as direction and script are concerned.
The Purge: Election Year  has some amazing costumes that tie into a thrilling satire of politics but struggles with the real meat of the film, the acting and story.