The First Purge is a 2018 horror film directed by Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands & The Twilight Zone). It was written & produced by The Purge creator James DeMonaco (Staten Island, The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, & The Purge: Election Year). This is the 4th film in the franchise & it’s also a prequel. The Purge now has a television series on the USA network. It’s also produced by Blumhouse Productions (Get Out, Insidious, Split, Happy Death Day, & Upgrade) & Platinum Dunes (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Amityville Horror, & A Quiet Place). The budget was $13 million & it grossed $135.9 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
The New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) are doing interviews & research on various citizens from Staten Island. Chief of staff Arlo Sabian (played by: Patch Darragh from The Path, Everything Sucks!, Sully, & Longmire) & experiment creator Dr. May Updale (played by: Marisa Tomei from My Cousin Vinny, The Wrestler, Captain America: Civil War, & Spider-Man: Homecoming) announce that The Purge will take place for 12 hours. The NFFA offers residents of the Island $5000 to stay in their homes during the experiment & a compensation for those participating as well. They put tracking devices & contact lenses with cameras in them so that they can monitor all activity for the participates. Druggie Skeletor (played by: Rotimi Paul from Dutch Kills & Mapplethorpe) & local dealer Isaiah (played by: Joivan Wade from Doom Patrol, Youngers, Big School, & EastEnders) are two of the many citizens that signed up for this new experiment. Drug Lord Dimitri (played by: Y’lan Noel from Insecure, The Hustle, Slice, & House of Another) tells his crew that they can’t purge & one of his top lieutenants Capital A (played by: Christian Robinson from The Plug, Burning Sands, & When Love Kills: The Falicia Blakely Story) says he disagrees with his rules which causes some beef between the gang. Anti-Purge activist Nya (played by: Lex Scott Davis from Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart, Training Day TV Series, & SuperFly) confronts Dimitri about her brother Isaiah working for him behind her back. Nya joins her friends Dolores (played by: Mugga from Orange Is the New Black & Rhonda Mitchell M.D.), Luisa (played by: Lauren Velez from OZ, Dexter, New York Undercover, & How to Get Away with Murder), & Selina (played by: Kristen Solis from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) in a church to wait out the Purge. Isaiah joins the Purge to get his revenge on Skeletor. Dmitri gets an unexpected surprise while waiting out the Purge. All of their paths cross & they end up at the same apartment complex together. Arlo Sabian will do anything to make this experiment a success. After it starts to fail, he takes matters in his own hands & hires some mercenaries to create their own murder buzz to increase the numbers for the night. All hell breaks loose on the streets & the community comes together which includes Freddy (played by: Steve Harris from Sugar Hill, The Rock, Justified, & Quarantine), Taz (played by: Derek Basco from Love & Money, Becker, Six Days Seven Nights, & Spider’s Web), Sharpie(played by: D.K. Bowser from Are We There Yet?, Heaven, & Alien Vs. Zombies), & others to fight these outsiders to survive the Purge!!!!
The First Purge definitely took a different approach compared to the previous films in the franchise. It brought back the Urban Horror sub genre that has been absent for the most part since the early 2000s. As a prequel, it could have done so much more but it still works & it shows you another side of The Purge universe. It had a nice atmosphere, the masks/costumes were creative, & it had a decent amount of kills in this so it had lots of entertainment value to it. They went for a more unknown cast for this production besides a few & it actually comes off more realistic because of it. I was surprised to see Marisa Tomei in this, she had the best performance here. Rotimi Paul was beyond over the top as Skeletor but I thought he was one of the best things about this feature. I am a big fan of larger than life villains & I thought it worked great in this environment. It had some veteran actors like Lauren Velez & Steve Harris that really helped move the picture along plus gave it some additional quality. I am not going to lie, when I first seen this in theaters, it kinda struck a nerve with me. I actually left that experience pretty pissed off. After my repeat viewing, I like it a little more but it’s still has it’s issues. I felt like this was very anti-white film & basically every Caucasian was a piece of shit in The First Purge. It had the main villains towards the 2nd half dressed as KKK members, Nazis, & wearing Blackface. I thought it was trying way too hard to make it obvious for that evil “representation” of the race. It was probably done on purpose because it achieved what they set out to do with this. It’s very controversial & it stays with you after you watch it. Personally, it’s my least favorite from the series but I still enjoyed it overall. It has everything that you would expect for a Purge movie so most people should be pleased with this prequel. RECOMMENDED for Purge & Urban Horror fans!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks really good on blu ray. The setting & environment becomes it’s own character in this. It has a nice visual style to it & all of the masks/constumes look great here for The Purge. It has 4 different audio options which include English: DTS:X, English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish: DTS 5.1, & French (Canada): DTS 5.1 on the disc. The First Purge has a nice boost to it especially for the suspenseful scenes & the action packed finale! The soundtrack fits this production perfect & it adds to the Urban Horror vibe. It also has English SDH, French, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on The First Purge release. “Deleted Scene” is almost 2 minutes & shows some more chaos from Skeletor against the community. “A Radical Experiment” is almost 5 minutes. It has interviews with various cast & crew members for the production. They chat about the concept & the social commentary for the film. They talk about their characters & experience plus the Staten Island location. “Bringing the Chaos” is a little over a minute. It has interviews with a few cast & crew members. It covers the action, stunts, & guns from the feature. “The Masks of The First Purge” is a little over a minute. It has interviews with various cast & crew members. They discuss their favorite masks from the film & what it means to them. It shows the variety of styles used for The First Purge. It has trailers from Universal before the movie plus a sneak peak at The Purge TV series from USA. It has a slipcover & a DVD copy included. It was released in several other formats including 4K/UHD & DVD. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!!!!