The end of The Purge: Anarchy set up more political intrigue than we might have expected from the Blumhouse franchise, but it was a welcome addition. The Purge: Election Year follows up on the set up, taking us to a new Purge Night (for the uninitiated, a holiday in a not too distant future USA where all crime is legal for the night), where anti-Purge presidential hopeful Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) is forced outside during the traumatic evening.
It was a smart move to bring back Frank Grillo from the last movie to portray Roan's head of security, whilst it could have been anyone, Grillo is a strong and charismatic lead for the franchise and while the hints at romance between him and Mitchell fall flat, they do have a nice friendly chemistry. The rest of the cast is a collection of stock characters who you would expect in a movie like this, the angry shop keeper, the repented sinner, the religious leader, and they all do a fine job but don't elevate the material.
After the last movie felt like a strong mix of John Carpenter and The Warriors, things are more toned down for Election Year. There is less tension but still plenty of violence. We actually see very few Purgers, though there is a particularly effective scene with some Purging tourists. Instead, this film deals more with the politics of the Purge.
Horror and satire have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time. That's why we should welcome the latest in The Purge franchise with open arms. It's come along at a time when politics are very scary and unpredictable. It skewers its subject with aplomb. Whilst the premise of the Purge might have been pushed to its limit in the last movie, the theology and theories behind it still offer a juicy slice of entertainment.