The First Purge         review by Bobby Blakey

When the first Purge film debuted in 2013 it was not only something fresh and cool it opened up obvious possibilities for a slew of franchise directions. Of course the success spawned sequels with The Purge: Anarchy in 2014 and The Purge: Election Year in 2016. The latest entry into the franchise is taking us back to where it all began with The First Purge, but does it have anything to offer to standout in the franchise or will it fail to live up to the series standard?

The First Purge follows the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, conducting an experiment with no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island known as the Purge where no one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does. I was surprised to see that this prequel entry into the franchise not only looked great, but also brings some new star power to the franchise with Marisa Tomei stepping into the series. As I feared her part is not as big as I had hoped, but does serve an important part to the history of the Purge itself. This is easily the most socially relevant film out there right now which is a pretty sad considering it is somewhat of a horror film. There are so many elements on both sides of the issues we are currently dealing with in politics, police and injustices across the board. Some will look at this as an attack on white people but if you pay attention to the actual message it is so much more than that if you are willing to look beyond just the black and white nature of it all.  

 

The story here is pretty straight forward, but doesn’t actually spend as much time as I had hoped with the development of the Purge and instead gives us some simplistic news footage to catch up with the times. They take a decent amount of time introducing us to the varying characters before getting into the insanity of it all. I loved that it took some of the creepy elements of the original as well as the more action tones of the sequels and injected all of it here. Sure there are plenty of over the top and often times unbelievable moments, but with the context in which we are seeing it worked for me. If I had any real issues it came with some of the rushed elements of the story and lack of any fun twists and turns. It was all either laid out in the trailer or pretty obvious where it is heading and made it a bit more average than it might have been otherwise.

 

Make no mistake I love this franchise and this prequel is no different. I still feel the original film is so much better likely due to it being so fresh and new at the time with a more of a horror tone, but this one does a decent job of entertaining and bringing some great kills and creepy characters throughout the Purge itself. I hope this is the only prequel to the series and we shift back to the aftermath of Election Year, but only time will tell if we get anymore to the series. If you liked the other films then give The First Purge a shot.

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