In a time of #MeToo and endless sexual assault allegations, Assassination Nation is hands down the boldest and fearless film of 2018. It’s a film with a mission so ambitious that American audiences are not ready to watch. It’s a film so unapologetically direct and strikingly relevant that is sure to create controversy. Sam Levinson’s hypnotic political thriller will not be able to escape the inevitable Purge comparisons. But Assassination Nation is what The Purge tries to be and what it should strive to be.
James DeMonaco returns to wrap up his The Purge trilogy with a political metaphor filled horror film
The Purge: Election Year follows the story of the now turned bodyguard, Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), who tries to save the anti-Purge senator, Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell). It’s directed by the same man who directed the first two Purge, James DeMonaco. He is back to finish the high concept franchise that he’s been having a hard time perfecting.
The Purge franchise has always had a interesting concept that would be great to explore on film given the current political affairs in the U.S. It does continue to give it’s viewers some rich allegory that closely resembles the terrifying truth. The inclusion of religious metaphors are mostly well done and add to the richness of the overall allegory. The whole concept is stronger than ever and continues to build on.
However, it can get a little over the top and in your face, but it does work nonetheless. The excess use of the confederate flag, the Nazi sign and other controversial symbols got a bit tiresome. However, for the most part the allegory and metaphors work to create some cool themes that need to be explored.
Given this is suppose to be a scary movie, the scares do not work in The Purge: Election Year. Trying to mimic the James Wan jump scare tactics and creepy imagery, the film fails to draw some creepy moments. The jump scares are just your typical loud boom with an added effort of having a guy in a creepy American mask pop up. Never does the audience get to see the mask because the camera doesn’t focus on the mask. Instead, it tries to focus on the characters being attacked and while the audience does care, it isn’t particularly frighting.
The movie does try to create some creepy and disturbing moments, but the over-the-top bad performances make it more laughable than creepy. The actors don’t seem to understand the line between creepy and over-the-top as every single bad guy’s performance were terrible and laughable. This kept The Purge: Election Year from delivering some very creepy imagery as it should’ve. Showing the evil side of humans can be terrifying and sadly this third entry failed to represent it.
Along with the terrible acting, the horror movie has some of the worst writing of the Purge movies. The movie is filled with unfunny jokes, cliché sass talk and horrible character development. The dialogue isn’t even half decent and when the movie does try to go on the emotional side the script feels forced.
The Purge: Election Year’s close to home political allegory can’t mask the over-the-top acting and cringe-worthy writing. Some of the metaphors and the overall allegory do keep this movie from being a really terrible movie. But, in the end, the third entry in The Purge franchise is a disappointing horror film that never truly holds up to its interesting concept and may just be the worst of the franchise.