“The Purge: Election Year,” is the third installment in the “Purge” franchise, but after its two terrifying predecessors this horror disappoints.
“The Purge” takes place in a futuristic United States where crime is non-existent because of a policy put in place by The New Founding Fathers — one night each year, any and all crime is allowed for 12 hours.
“The Purge: Election Year,” much like “The Purge: Anarchy” before it, wears its vintage John Carpenter allegiance on its sleeve,” wrote TheWrap’s Dave White. “DeMonaco and editor Todd E. Miller only let up the action in order to draw your attention to some new perverse curiosity of modern death fetishism.”
Some critics agreed that although the film is relevant to the current political climate, it doesn’t seem to go much deeper than that. Receiving 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, critics argue that the third “Purge” film relies more so on its gory killings to compel audiences rather than engaging in social and political conversation.
“The movie never gets into the type of political discourse one might expect when bringing politics and election into the world of “The Purge,” Edward Douglas of the New York Daily News said. “It doesn’t get our endorsement; timeliness doesn’t Trump low production value.”
See seven other reviews below.
The San Francisco Chronicle, Peter Hartlaub
“The action scenes are frequently incoherent, involving a bunch of guys pulling guns on each other, and the director shaking the camera vigorously for 15 or 20 seconds, before revealing a few bodies lying on the ground covered in blood. People in the movie spend a fortune to fortify their homes, but no one thinks to buy a $400 plane ticket to non-purging Canada.
There’s not a lot of nuance or sense in the third ‘Purge’ movie. But it still manages to coast on a combination of self-awareness, crowd-pleasing carnage and a plot that ties perfectly into current events. You might think our real-life political leaders got in a room with the United Kingdom’s officials, and conspired to make this ridiculous movie seem relevant.”
New York Daily News, Edward Douglas
“It’s more than slightly disconcerting to sit in an audience applauding madly at the most vicious and violent kills, but ‘The Purge’ movies seem to thrive on this blood lust. Sure, DeMonaco has a few new clever ideas, but the movie never gets into the type of political discourse one might expect when bringing politics and election into the world of ‘The Purge.”
CinemaBlend, Gregory Wakeman
“Yet, at the same time, ‘The Purge: Election Year’ falls into the same trappings that waylaid its brethren, as it abides to genre conventions too tightly to be truly striking. At times this works to its positive, as ‘Election Year’ provides us with numerous scenes that are undeniably rousing and, for want of a better word, simply cool in their presentation. But its message, while raw and angry, is neither stirring nor nuanced, and the emotional touches and structure are too derivative and familiar to be impactful.”
Metro, Matt Prigge
“Though ‘Election Year’ keeps up appearances as savage social critique, it sometimes says, ‘Eff this,’ and prods us into cheering on murder with a big, satisfied smile on our face.”
Nerd Report, Fred Topel
“Clearly, ‘The Purge: Election Year’ is more concerned with being loud and obnoxious than making a point, and it shows its hand too early for you to care about anything on its mind. It has the cheapest jump scares of the trilogy. Two of them happen before the purge even begins. The score features the throbbing sound of steel machines scraping together. That is not intense It’s just unpleasant to endure. Even the ‘Saw’ movies, utilizing a similar aesthetic, found a melody in it that built to their reveals.”
IndieWire, Eric Kohn
“While ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ was surprisingly enjoyable, it should come as no great surprise that ‘Election Year’ does little more than devolve into run-and-gun showdowns and howling lunatics. That’s especially unfortunate considering the grand tradition of allegorical horror movies that have something real to say about the world. (George A. Romero and Carpenter are some of the great political commentators of the last century, and this one needs them badly.)”
Newark Star-Ledger, Stephen Whitty
“The film is better when it doesn’t try to ‘say’ anything and contents itself with simply showing all the festive violence – adults in bloody clown masks, death cars decorated in Christmas lights, a murderous Uncle Sam. The scenes are over-the-top (private citizens setting up guillotines and razor-sharp pendulums in alleys?) but provide most of the film’s genuinely nightmarish atmosphere.”