“They’re like Get Out… with infinitely less subtlety.”
Now out in theaters, The First Purge goes back to the beginning for a prequel to the first three films, showing us how and why the annual event began in the first place. Of course, the franchise itself actually began back in 2013 with The Purge, followed by the action-heavy sequels The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year.
You’d be hard pressed to find a horror franchise with a more intriguing concept than The Purge, which centers on the idea of future-America dedicating 12 hours each year to a lawless night of depravity that allows the country’s citizens to “unleash the beast” and do whatever they please in the hopes that they’ll be less kill-happy on the other 364 days of the year.
An awesome concept for a horror franchise, to be sure, but the films have never quite managed to live up to the potential inherent to that premise. Mind you, I love the one-two punch of The Purge and The Purge: Anarchy, one a home invasion film with a killer hook and the other a straight up action-exploitation flick, but the franchise has to date proven itself to be one that only really has one drum to beat and never quite manages to beat it that well. The First Purge is no exception, as it aims for social commentary but is far too under-cooked to resonate.
In any event, Screen Junkies gave the first three films their always humorous “Honest Trailers” treatment this week, and they make some great points about this underachieving franchise…