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The First Purge (2018) - Movie Review

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The First Purge - Movie Review

3 stars

You already knew it would come to this: a prequel.

Families held in cages.  Children ripped from their mothers.  Asylum seekers treated as criminals. And one hell of a 12-hour period of time in which ANYTHING heinous is permitted.  If you think that it is not possible in today’s America, then you aren’t paying attention.  Americans HATE.  It is the new hope, I guess. 

The truth is that there is a new civil war brewing thanks to Trump, his law-breaking, racist cronies, and the fall of the middle class and The Purge, which has ALWAYS been political, is practically bursting at the seams to tackle Trump’s version of America.  The landscape, as depicted here under a government that is neither Democrat or Republican, is damned real. 

"feeling all too real, is proof just how far our society has fallen since 2013, when this series began.  Pinch yourself.  Keep telling yourself that it is only a movie"

Welcome to The First Purge, a prequel that takes us back to the very beginning of the night of bedlam.  The National Founding Fathers of America have a brilliant idea in how to control the population.  Twelve long hours where anything is legal.  But, before they take it nationally, they want to limit its range.  This devil’s playground is Staten Island and, when the dawn breaks over the chaos of this free-for-all night, America will forever be changed. And I'm not just talking about keeping the crime rate at a low percentage point.

Heroin.  Crack.  Violence.  It seems the United States Government will do anything to crush the minority population so, of course, The First Purge is all about gangs, the projects, and life on the streets.  With a hook.  The violence, thanks to some fancy alien-like contacts, will be televised.  The revolution will be, well, you get it.  Ouch. 

This B-minded movie is all about violence but it feels like a social experiment timestamped circa 1975.  It’s raw and, perhaps inspired by the success of Get Out, goes all-in with the hate that is bubbling on today’s surface and the gang-banging ways of the 1990s.  Cherry-picked, sure, but it largely works.  The bad news is that writer/director James DeMonaco is not at the helm and it is noticeable. 

To its credit, The Purge has been almost alone in its attempts to bring back the slasher genre of horror films.  Mostly, fans get a wicked sense of the supernatural, but not so in The Purge, where the threat feels grounded and oh so very real that most of the series is like watching Headline News. Rape, murder, theft, and here’s the weather report!  But things get political fast.  There’s no avoiding it and The First Purge is no different.  Cartoonish, yes, but also damn right.

And that’s some truly scary (and startling) shit.  Fiction is being fact.  So much so, that some critics out there are bound to suggest that this film is grasping at straws as the 12-hour period of anarchy breaks out across the nation.  Sounds crazy, I know, but, watch the news, there is so much anger and frustration out there that, yes, it certainly does feel like we are at a tipping point. The First Purge could get us closer to the edge.

The First Purge - Movie Review

Starring Y'Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez, and Marisa Tomei, this movie suffers only a bit under the direction of Gerard McMurray, who is new to the series. Some sequences aren’t as tight as they could have been but, with a plot that pits the poor against the impoverished for a whopping $5000, it feels very real, desperate, and frightening.  The First Purge might not be as confident but, as far as prequels go, there are worse ones out there.

The First Purge, feeling all too real, is proof just how far our society has fallen since 2013, when this series began.  Pinch yourself.  Keep telling yourself that it is only a movie. 

It's only a movie. 

Only a movie. 

God save us all.

The First Purge - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use.
Runtime:
97 mins
Director
: Gerard McMurray
Writer:
James DeMonaco
Cast:
Y'lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade
Genre
: Horror | Action | Sci-fi
Tagline:
Citizens, join the first Purge.
Memorable Movie Quote: "It is a night that is defining our country."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 4, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

The First Purge - Movie Review

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The First Purge - Movie Review

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