On Friday, Oct. 28 a special Halloween double feature was presented in the Eastern Michigan University Student Center auditorium. The two films shown were “Purge: Election Year”, and “Don’t Breathe”.
“Purge: Election Year” is the third installment in the “Purge” series, which is about what happens when the U.S. government legalizes crime for one night. In “Election Year”, presidential candidate Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) promises her supporter that she will end the annual Purge if she becomes elected. This is seen as a threat against the New Founding Fathers party, which supports the Purge, and has updated the Purge rule that includes politicians as potential targets for Purge participants. The film also has a side story that involves a store owner named Joe (Mykelti Williamson) who plans on standing guard at his store after two teenage shoplifters (Brittany Mirabile and Juani Feliz) vow to seek revenge on Purge Night after the store owner caught them in the act. These two stories eventually come together when Joe meets Senator Roan, and they form a team that helps people who were affected by people taking advantage of the lawlessness of the night.
The second movie shown was “Don’t Breathe”, a film about three Detroit area criminals, Rocky (Jean Levy), Alex (Dylan Minnette) and Money (Daniel Zovatto) attempt to rob a blind man (Stephen Lang) goes terribly wrong. Money first proposes robbing the house at 1837 Buena Vista Street in Detroit because he found out that a blind retiree recently won $300,000 in a wrongful death lawsuit after his only daughter died in a car accident. Alex initially hesitates because he felt it was morally questionable to rob a person like this, but Rocky agrees because she felt that the 300 grand would help bring her and her sister out of an abusive relationship. The robbery goes as planned, until the man himself finds the three teens. From that point on, a series on insane and deranged events happen that shows that these teens chose the wrong guy to mess with.
These two horror films are very unique because of the themes that they have. “Purge: Election Day” is about what happens to a country when political corruption goes unchecked, and “Don’t Breathe” shows that you should never underestimate the abilities of a disabled person. These two films seemed like a critique on how messed up society can be, and the messages were certainly delivered with great style. In “Election Day”, for example, it shows a group of “murder tourists” from South Africa enjoying Purge Night simply because something like this is frowned upon in their home country. “Election Day” also seems to be a satire on the current 2016 elections, and is trying to point out how ridiculous modern politics has become.
“Don’t Breathe” not only has an admirable moral, but it also is very creative when it came to putting viewers through suspense. Many unexpected events happen throughout the film, and had many scenes that shocked the audience. “Don’t Breathe” also had some breathtakingly beautiful cinematography for a rather dark horror film. The movie hauntingly captures the decay and grit of the Detroit neighborhood that the film take place in. It expertly captures the sense of fear that these places have and uses it with great effect in many of the outdoor scenes. It was also interesting how the filmmakers showed the Blind Man’s house as the only nice house in the neighborhood, surrounded by empty, worn-down buildings.
Both horror films are worth a watch because they not only are action-packed thrillers that will have viewers wondering what will happen next, but they also bring up thoughtful questions about the nature of society.