• by Wes Singleton

Review: The Purge: Election Year, C

Rated R, 105 minutes

If you thought Donald Trump was scary, just try surviving The Purge if you're an anti-purge election candidate. That's the premise of the latest installment of the popular horror franchise, this time out "The Purge: Franchise" tackles the bloody nature of politics, and like the other installments, this is a thin excuse for loads of blood and guts, particularly in the over-the-top finale, but it has its fun moments. As a young girl, Sen. Charlene Roan ("Lost's" Elizabeth Mitchell) survived the annual night of lawlessness that took the lives of her family members. As a presidential candidate, Roan is determined to end the yearly tradition of blood lust once and for all. When her opponents hatch a deadly scheme, the senator finds herself trapped on the streets of Washington, D.C., just as the latest Purge gets underway. Now, it's up to Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo from "The Purge: Anarchy" back again), her head of security, to keep her alive during the next 12 hours of mayhem. Directed and written by "The Purge" creator James DeMonaco, "The Purge: Election Year" should please its fanbase just fine, there's gratuitous amounts of blood and guts, this time wrapped around some heavy-handed political ideas of - gulp - ending the purge (now where is the fun in that?), something we know likely won't happen in the interest of movie-going dollars. DeMonaco has some nice, original ideas in the "The Purge" films, especially in the first film, though its coherency in the later films is lost amidst all the redundancy of the blood and guts, and there's not really much else to tell here. Mitchell and Grillo make for a decent pairing, though its Mykelti Williamson (forever known as Bubba from "Forrest Gump") who steals most of the scenes in comic relief as a small store owner caught up in all the action, with some of the film's he has the best lines ("good night and blue cheese!" is one of his many sayings). What's truly troubling and somewhat disturbing about "The Purge" films - and likely part of their biggest box-office appeal (also troubling) - is the heavy, heavy amount of gun violence that occurs in about ninety percent of the movie, but then maybe that's the point. Admittedly, some of "The Purge: Election Year" is forgettable, guilty-pleasure fun and it's hardly ever subtle, but most everything else about it is still a mess.