Blumhouse and Universal struck gold with the first Purge film with an interesting premise along with it. How would the world react if all crime was legal for 12 hours. The problem was the first film decided to use that premise for a home invasion film. Creator James DeMonaco course corrected and gave us a bit of an action film in Anarchy. And then with Election Year, I think DeMonaco found his voice in what type of films he wanted to make, and he helped make that film finally in the one he didn’t direct.
That’s not an attack at his direction during previous films or even me claiming that newcomer Gerard McMurray did a “better job”, as a fan of the franchise, I felt that I still felt DeMonaco’s voice in the direction as he claimed it for the series prior and McMurray followed suit as most continuation in franchise’s.
This film is as you’d expect, a prequel to the series so far and shows us the first purge that occurs, even shows us how the name of the event was named, in a not-so-clever way. And they try to explain it away, in ways that makes sense to even actual real life events. It’s hard to not seperate the real world with what’s currently occuring in the states. The previous film Election Year came out the same year of the last election in the states that caused everyone’s worst villain Trump to end up in power. His last film felt like a warning that we might lead to purging.
And after he won, we see the evil in broad daylight. We’ve seen shootings on churches, tiki torches, the KKK and proudly admitting “pussy grabbing” and in the film, all these appear. James DeMonaco is angry, and you can feel it in the script. He’s done with the subtle hinting within the marketing, here is the actual proof.
Something that is always well welcomed in this franchise, at least in later installments, is that is led by people of colour, and is honest to the environments that the films are taking place in. Taking place in Staten Island, and with an apartment building being the main focus. The government is simply trying to weed out the lower income families. It’s another excuse to keep the rich, rich.
The film relies on jump scares, and that is unfortunate, but there’s a tone of genuine creepiness that kept me glued to the film. And the cast gives great charismatic performances that also are very enticing to pay attention.
Overall, the film is a fun continuation to the series they’ve made, but it’s gotten to the point where it’s begun to terrify me, but in a different way. It terrifies me how the real world has started to, which is to say it’s a lot.
The blu-ray comes with a deleted scene that helped me understand a moment in the film, but it also made me ask more questions. So, there are moments in the final act, in the apartment that lead to nothing in the end. It also comes with three other bonus features. But all four put together barely make 20 minutes of extras.
A Radical Experiment is filled with interviews from the cast and crew explaining a bit of what I’ve covered in my film. It’s a cast mostly filled with people of colour, and it’s hard to seperate the film from our place in society and scary it can be. It’s a real-life horror that the film touches on while giving a voice to the people who don’t usually get it.
Bringing The Chaos is a brief look at the extent of the action and how because fans had been asking to see more purging, this is apparently why we were given the most action in one of the series.
And then there is the last extra is about the Masks of The First Purge. This is only a brief minute and a half about the masks in the film. This runs far too short, given the emphasis of the masks in the franchise. This explains the importance of masks for Purging, and also explains why it continues on every year. It also adds more of that real life horror due to the masks having such historical context. Between the white hoods, and the black face masks (from the “Smileys” gang). There is a great joke about the captain being a mix both SS, and S&M, he called it SS&M.
There isn’t enough extras on this disc, and frankly, this is partially due to the new streaming services taking over the world, and the decline of physical media sales. This is why we need to support our films, and buy blu-rays. This has been my PSA.
The First Purge and The Purge Collection on sale now