A senator and survivor of a sadistic annual Purge night participant's gruesome home invasion that left her family dead looks to nab the presidency to put an end to The Purge. With the upcoming Purge Night, her opponents conspire to take her out of the political campaign. Will she survive the night?
Written & Directed by James DeMonaco
It's probably the thing on everyone's mind who went out to see The Purge: Election Year (2016) over the July 4th weekend; not only was it cleverly chosen to usher in the United States' annual celebration of its independence from British rule, but did Election Year just give an overt smack to our past and present? Or is it predicting our future? In many ways, yes and both. It's only even made more daunting by the fact that we can fill in the gaps with recent examples of this assertion that lays bare a country in a racial, cultural, economic, and political hailstorm that really hasn't known much else ever.
With frightening precision, Election Year is a jolt akin to John Carpenter's They Live. Something that the teenagers in the front row of my theater will take with them now and in the years to come in understanding how our country decides to operate. How, as all of them were of African descent, imagine their existence in a country that systemically colludes with their extinction. Election Year very cleverly pulls at the compulsion of hope, but manages to yank it away.
James DeMonaco continues to expand on the world he created back in 2013 with the original film, an underwhelming home invasion movie that was in hindsight, his Trojan horse to deliver a larger message through more interesting characters, providing subtext to America's relentless state of distress. In particular, the visually striking Kimmy, a.k.a. "Freakbride" played by newcomer Brittany Mirabile (@BrittMirabile).
She demands your attention immediately in the trailer, and she was equally thrilling in the film. For such a role, I knew there's was more there considering Election Year's tone and how each character, no matter how big or small their role, presented a different introspective reaction to the annual Purge. I got the exciting opportunity to pick Brittany's brain about her role and one of the aspects of the purge not quite explored with such a punch in previous films; its impact on 'The Purge' generation.
When Kimmy boldly revealed her face to her opponent, I knew there was another layer hidden behind her lustfully violent state, "After reading and seeing how Kimmy interacts with Joe [co-star Mykelti Williamson] I had to fill in the blanks and analyze why she behaves that way," Mirabile told me. "She was born in a world where the value of human life is completely skewed. She killed her parents and brags about it. She has complete disregard for the rights of others and in fact she enjoys violating them. She had this strange sense of invincibility and complete disregard for her safety. After some research it became clear, Kimmy has ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder)."
Mirabile furthers, "Within the world of the movie, the annual purge existed long enough to have a whole generation of Americans that don't know what life was like without the purge, which is absolutely horrifying, so that's what we explored."
The Purge: Election Year worked for me personally as an effective, action horror piece because it was so frustratingly similar to our real lives and the anxiety we face daily living in a country that prides law over human life. In many ways, Election Year is sad, sometimes daring, promising, and depressing all at once. And Kimmy, along with all of her opponents and allies is our present, and quite possibly, our future.