“The Purge: Election Year” (Universal)

Edwin Hodge and Frank Grillo star in a scene from the movie "The Purge: Election Year." The Catholic News Service classification is O -- morally offensive. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

This third installment in the blood-soaked franchise that started with 2013’s “The Purge” sticks to the commercially tried-and-true formula of appealing to the very impulses it pretends to condemn, using the premise of a dystopian future America where one night a year is set aside for legally sanctioned murder and mayhem to do so.

But returning writer-director James DeMonaco first adds a ham-fisted political message to the hypocritical mix by way of a senator and presidential candidate (Elizabeth Mitchell) whose opposition to the saturnalia of slaughter leaves her in the crosshairs of the ruling cabal who established it, then deepens the religiously offensive elements of the second film in the series into outright — and perverse — blasphemy. As the politician’s bodyguard (Frank Grillo) battles to protect her, the plot approaches a climax which constitutes a vicious attack on Christianity’s most sacred beliefs and practices. No person of good will should patronize this film.

Sacrilege and anti-Christian bias, much gory violence, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, pervasive rough and crude dialogue.

The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Click here for full reviews of this and other current movies by Catholic News Service.

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