*****THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS*****
I live in Richmond, VA and it is HOT today. It’s not just a little bit hot. It feels insufferable outside. I woke up around 9:30 am and made some Kroger ‘Private Selection’ coffee in the Keurig, which is actually pretty good and a decent deal at $7.19 for a pack of 18 K-cups. Please, spare me the lecture about how k-cups are ruining the planet and better coffee can be made for much cheaper in a drip machine. I know this. It’s just what we have right now and dammit, there’s nothing finer than a weekend morning spent with a cup of coffee.
Before I went into the kitchen, I grabbed my copy of Stephen King’s “The Stand” from my night stand. My boyfriend bought me the complete and uncut edition from a BAD ASS used book store in Richmond called Chop Suey Books, which is located in Carytown. You should go there if you’re ever in Richmond. I took my book out onto our balcony and figured I could get through a couple chapters in the shady spot before the sun really got to me. I was wrong. It was before noon, and it was already well above 90 degrees outside. Phew! It is scorching.
After my boyfriend woke up, we made breakfast. I made him some pretty superb scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast, and I made myself a grilled cheese with said bacon and a little guacamole. Nom, nom, nom. I asked him if he wanted to see a matinee at the theater up the street, and he agreed. We had just re-watched The Purge: Anarchy on the Fourth of July and felt it was time we gave the third installment a go.
Once we made our decision to see a movie, we did what every good American does before they see any of the Purge movies. We got drunk. I downed a Miller Lite and an Amstel Light within 20 minutes. Because we were in a rush, we took two tequila shots before heading out the door. It just seemed wrong to see The Purge on an empty stomach.
We got to the theater, which is about 1 mile from our apartment, and settled into our seats. I gotta say they were pretty good seats for getting there about 10 minutes before the movie started on a Saturday where everyone else decided it was a good idea to get out of the heat too. We grabbed beers and awaited our chance to ‘Purge and Purify’ with the New Founding Fathers.
Let me comment quickly on the previews. I didn’t see all of them because I stood in line for a beer. I saw the preview for Lights Out and I think, unfortunately, it will not live up to the amazing short film that it’s based on. But I’ll definitely see it and hopefully I’ll be wrong.
Finally, the Purging began. Side note: I felt a little uneasy when the theater attendant lingered suspiciously near the exit. It would be just my luck to see a movie about purging your internal evil by murdering people where some whacko decided he needed to make that plot a reality. This is the America we live in. This is why The Purge is relevant and important.
My reactions and feelings about the movie first, and then a full synopsis with bonus commentary.
GUT REACTION (spoiler free): This. movie. RULES. There are gratuitous action scenes to satisfy people who maybe don’t like horror so much. Then there are scares that are obviously Blumhouse style. The BEST part of The Purge, though, is the representation of women. EVERY FUCKING WOMAN IN THIS MOVIE IS A BAD ASS. THE MAIN WOMEN ARE BAD ASS. THE VILLAIN WOMEN ARE BAD ASS. I couldn’t be more proud to say that a horror film is so INTENSELY feminist. It. is. awesome. Dudes won’t even notice because there’s enough gore and bad ass action going on – which I loved, too. The Purge is a franchise that is somehow ONLY GETTING BETTER. The first one sucked. The second one is what we wanted to see happening in the streets. This third film – it’s something else. It’s so good. I can’t wait for the next round. I WILL say that the hokie dialogue of the film’s black characters are definitely cheesy and unfortunate, and there for cheap laughs.
Okay, here’s the synopsis with a little commentary and a lot of spoilers:
The film begins with a doozy of a scene, and a pretty great soundtrack too. This is really different from the first two movies. We know what we’re in for, so there’s no use for formalities and explanations. There is a frantic, almost sexiness to the first 2 minutes that makes you excited to be a horror fan (you know, if you’re a sane person and can separate yourself from fiction). Then the scene becomes really horrific.
We jump 18 years into the future. It is now 25 years since the New Founding Fathers implemented the annual purge in order to save America from economic ruin. Is it really that crazy of an idea given our current state of the country? Yes – yes it is. But I found myself drawing a lot of parallels to the state of affairs today throughout the entire film.
We find out that one of the women from the opening scene is now a U.S. Senator who is running for president (you go, girl!). Her name is Charlie Roan, and she is one of those gorgeous yet smart looking white women in their 40s a la Kirsten Cohen in The OC or Lily Van Der Woodsen in Gossip Girl. Is there, like, a club for these women? Also – it’s OKAY to be a hard core horror fan and also watch The O.C. and Gossip Girl. But I digress. OH! She is Juliette from Lost! That just came to me. Raise your hand if you also write in streams-of-consciousness.
Charlie’s platform is based solely on ending the annual purge and its exploitation of low-income and minority Americans. As you can imagine, this doesn’t really make the New Founding Fathers all that happy. And she’s CLOSE to winning. Like, Donald Trump-could-potentially-be-our-next-president close. They are that scared. She claims that the New Founding Fathers, as well as insurance companies and all of the other usual evil suspects, are profiting heavily from the onslaught of violence every year. Is it really that hard to believe?
During a debate between the New Founding Fathers candidate (a white guy and also a Minister) and our anti-Purge candidate, we meet our hero from The Purge: Anarchy once again. This time, Leo Barnes is part of the Secret Service style protection crew for the U.S. Senator. If you saw the last movie, you understand his motives. He likes her politics, if you will. He’s no longer a big fan of purging after what went down in the last movie. I wasn’t quite sure if this year’s purge takes place one year after the last movie, but then again I WAS a little drunk.
Meanwhile, we meet Joe, Laney, and Marcos (and pussy and waffle loving Irish Ike). Joe is the owner of a local deli in D.C. and Marcos works for him. Laney and Ike seem to just hang around. Laney’s been coming there since she was a kid. They discuss The Purge and lament that nothing will ever change. Marcos really believes in Senator Roan and her chance to win. The others – not so much. Joe learns that his “Purge insurance” rate has conveniently gone up by thousands of dollars on the night before the Purge. Can’t you just imagine AIG or some shit calling you and being like “Sorry, but you gonna have to pay up in order not to lose everything you’ve worked for.” I can.
Somewhere while this is all happening (before or after – I can’t remember), there are a couple of “Georgetown Visitation Prep” looking private school girls who try to steal a Snickers bar from Joe. He ain’t having it. But these girls WANT their candy. They look a little crazy. Joe isn’t having any luck, but then Laney steps in to take care of business. These girls RECOGNIZE and RESPECT her. She is known to them as “La Pequeña Muerte” or “the small death”. And she ain’t having it either. They give back the candy and leave, but are disappointed that Laney isn’t into her murderous ways anymore. They wish they could’ve met her “back in the day”. FORESHADOWING?!
Finally, it’s Purge night. Joe decides that he has to defend his store by himself because he can’t risk it without having insurance. Marcos joins him. Laney and a friend commence their annual “volunteer work” by providing a triage type service out of a van during the Purge. Their first customer of the night just shot her husband because “she couldn’t look at his face anymore”. Scary.
In another part of town, Senator Roan decides to stay in her own house during purge night because she feels that voters would lose respect for her if she barricaded herself in some bunker like the rich, white woman she is. The New Founding Fathers have ended the rule that states that high ranking government officials are exempt from the purge. It’s anyone’s game now.
At the deli, the Georgetown Prep type girls who wanted the snickers bar are back in style and I INSTANTLY know what this year’s Halloween costume will be (soooo excited). Marcos and Joe fight them off, but they promise they’ll be back later.
Back with the Senator, all is going to plan for Leo and his crew, until someone betrays them and a gang of Neo-Nazi mother fuckers raid the whole damn house in an attempt to assassinate her (on behalf of the NFF, of course). Luckily, Leo has some tricks up his sleeve and they escape into the streets. We get an awesome glimpse of what’s going down in this year’s purge and it ain’t pretty. There’s GUILLOTINES and shit this year, y’all. Also – I forgot to mention the murder tourism. This would totally be a thing. People from other countries travel to America for one day in order to kill people. Fucking humans.
Senator Roan and Leo end up in the streets and fight off some clowns? Then they get caught up in a gang of murder tourists and it seems like all is going to shit. But Joe and Marcos save the day in bad ass form! They take shelter at Joe’s deli.
The Snickers bar girls come back. They are so fucking cool looking (again, kids, please separate reality from fiction). They’ve got friends this time and they’re going to get in the deli with chainsaws. BUT! LANEY WHO IS A FUCKING BADASS COMES DOWN AND MOWS THEM OVER WITH HER VAN AND THEN TAKES A SAWED OFF SHOT GUN AND SHOOTS A TEDDY BEAR HOLY SHIT IT WAS AWESOME AND I’M SO HAPPY THAT THIS AWESOME, WOMAN OF COLOR IS NOW AN ACTION HERO OF MINE. OMG. SHE RULES.
More glimpes of what’s going down in the street (including a great scene where a couple of white supremacists are taken out) and we get to an underground bunker where they’ve set up a mini hospital. It’s also where the leaders of the purge resistance are headquartered. This time, the leader’s name is “Dante Bishop”. It is not Omar from The Wire, unfortunately. What happened to him – Carmelo Johns – at the end of the last movie? I can’t remember. Lemme Google that for you, Katie. We learn that Dante’s crew are trying to assassinate Senator Roan’s opponent, much to her chagrin. She tries to stop them, but they’re done with the purge and it’s moving forward.
However, Senator Roan gets kidnapped by the neo-nazis and is taken to a cathedral where her opponent is hosting his annual “Purge Midnight Mass” THIS midnight mass isn’t where you show up once a year on Christmas Eve and sing Christmas carols to make your mom happy. This midnight mass is for rich people and members of the New Founding Fathers to sacrifice others and do their own purging. An unfortunate drug-addict named Lawrence is stabbed by a creepy looking “Lurch” type guy named Harmon. We love you, Lawrence. Harmon needs some chap stick. Then, they roll in Senator Roan for the next sacrifice to many applause of old, rich, white people. Old, rich white people are the worst.
But, the assassination attempt is already in motion, and the resistance team is storming the scene. Leo tells them this is no longer an assassination attempt, but a rescue mission and they invade. Oh man, it was great. This movie is full of righteous action scenes.
By the end of the movie, we learn that Senator Roan has won the presidency. She ends the purge by executive action. But supporters from the New Founding Fathers are rioting. What will happen next? I can’t wait to find out!