THE PURGE: Election Year

— by Jeff Schultz

The third Purge movie is too canny to have anything as obvious as a Trumpian villain, and yet it totally nails the ugliness of Election Year 2016 and presents the audience with a choice as stark and shocking as the real one we’ll make in November. TP:EY is a political statement, but you can easily set that aside and just let this nightmare of urban violence and skull-shattering hyper-gore wash over you, even though there’s a big, moral “Yes, but…”. To wit: the good guys in the movie — the ones fighting to stop the Purge, the ones we’re rooting for — keep making the point that violence is wrong. But let’s face it, we go to a movie like this precisely for the violence. And PURGE 3 does not disappoint. Gunshots and guillotines, arrows and knives and fire will make you giddy with twisted glee. This long, dark night of the American soul plays out with discomfiting intensity, leading up to a Black Mass presided over by one of the scariest ministers (Kyle Secor) to ever don vestments in a film. Also worth mention in a largely unknown cast: Brittany Mirabile as a vicious gangbanger who gets what she deserves after stealing a scene in which she’s caught stealing. Nathan Whitehead’s score (he did the first two as well) amplifies the tension once again with something somewhere between music and pure sound. Cinematographer Jacques Jouffret is also back making nighttime scary. And James DeMonaco wrote and directed all three. Keeping the creative team together explains the series’ consistent high quality.

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