The First Purge
|The First Purge|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gerard McMurray|
|Written by||James DeMonaco|
|Music by||Kevin Lax|
|Edited by||Jim Page|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$137 million|
The First Purge is a 2018 American action horror film directed by Gerard McMurray and starring Y'lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Lauren Vélez, Kristen Solis, and Marisa Tomei. The fourth installment in the Purge franchise, the film is a prequel depicting the origins of the annual "Purge", a 12-hour span once a year in which all crime in America, including murder, is legal; it originates as an experiment confined to Staten Island with financial incentive for those who stay on the island for its duration, but the New Founding Fathers are determined to get the results they want by any means necessary. Written and produced by James DeMonaco, it marks the first film of the series not to be directed by him.
The First Purge was released on July 4, 2018, by Universal Pictures. It has grossed over $137 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing entry in the franchise, but received mixed reviews from critics like its predecessors.
A crazed drug addict named Skeletor discusses his dark thoughts, including his desire to "purge" and unleash his hatred on other people. A psychologist tells Skeletor that he can very soon.
In an alternate 2014, the government has been overthrown by the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA). NFFA chief of staff Arlo Sabian and behavioural scientist Dr. May Updale announce an experiment to take place on Staten Island where for 12 hours, citizens will be allowed to purge and release their inhibitions in any way they choose, including murder. The NFFA offers residents $5,000 to stay during the experiment. They also outfit the participants with contact lens cameras so that they can monitor all activity and put tracking devices in them so they will know if they try to leave the island.
Drug lord Dmitri tells his dealers that they will not be leaving the island as it will draw too much attention, moving his large amounts of money and product. Dmitri says to his soldiers that they will stay in a safe house and lay low. Dealer Capital A decides to defy this order and go out and purge, while dealer Isaiah is attacked and cut by Skeletor. Isaiah goes to his sister Nya, an anti-Purge activist and Dimitri's ex-girlfriend, for treatment.
As people flee Staten Island, Nya joins her friends Dolores, Luisa, and Selina in a church to wait out the Purge. Dmitri has stayed behind because Capital A has sent Anna and Elsa, two sex workers, to his office. Skeletor commits the first-ever Purge murder, and the video recorded by the NFFA goes viral. The NFFA also observe that more parties than killings are taking place and that crimes are mostly just looting and vandalism, as opposed to the expected murder.
Isaiah joins the Purge to get his revenge on Skeletor. He eventually confronts him during the Purge but cannot shoot him. Isaiah runs off and into more purgers, before hiding and calling Nya for help. Anna and Elsa are revealed to be Purgers who attempt to kill Dmitri, but Dmitri fights them off and learns that Capital A had sent them in an attempt to take over Dmitri's business. Skeletor captures Nya in the streets and attempts to rape her, but Isaiah wounds him and they escape.
Nya and Isaiah return to the church to see blood-soaked white supremacist bikers leaving it. Although Luisa and Selina survived, Dolores' fate is unknown. They all return to Nya's apartment where Dolores has managed to make it safely. Meanwhile, at the NFFA headquarters, Updale becomes suspicious of a sudden increase in murder, along with the presence of masked participants. She reviews the video footage of the Purge and notices vans full of masked killers arriving. Much to her horror, she finds out that the said masked killers are trained mercenary groups killing multiple civilians. Sabian explains that he sent the mercenaries to make the experiment look successful, and eventually to help balance the wealth disequilibrium amongst the rich and the poor. Updale protests this tampering, realizing that the NFFA only wants to eradicate the poor to save the expense of social programs. Knowing that his corruption has been exposed, Sabian has Updale taken away and killed, and erases all footage of the event.
Capital A and his crew go to Dmitri's office to thank Anna and Elsa, but Dmitri and his gang kill them all. Dmitri and his gang escape through the streets, until unknown assailants attack them. Dmitri kills them all and discovers they are mercenaries. Realizing they were sent by the NFFA, who had also dumped weapons into the neighborhood to provoke participation, Dmitri and his crew decide to take a stand against them and protect the neighborhood. After saving a local shop owner, they go to Nya's apartment building to try and save her and her friends, but NFFA drones shoot and kill most of Dmitri's gang. Dmitri calls Nya and warns her of the mercenaries' invasion, but he is coming to help her. The mercenaries are about to shoot a rocket-propelled grenade into the apartments when Skeletor arrives and kills some mercenaries before he himself is killed. Dmitri grabs a piece of C-4, throws it and shoots it repeatedly until it explodes, killing the remaining mercenaries. As sirens sound the end of the Purge, Dmitri is hailed as a hero, and he states that the survivors must somehow fight back.
During the end credits, Sabian reads a statement calling this experimental Purge a success, and that a nationwide Purge may begin as soon as the following year. A mid-credits scene leads into the events of the other films, and directly ties into The Purge television series.
- Y'lan Noel as Dmitri
- Lex Scott Davis as Nya
- Joivan Wade as Isaiah
- Mugga as Dolores
- Christian Robinson as Capital A
- Lauren Vélez as Luisa
- Kristen Solis as Selina
- Marisa Tomei as Dr. May Updale/The Architect
- Cindy Robinson as Purge Announcement Voice
- Levy Tran as Roenick
- Patch Darragh as Arlo Sabian/Chief of Staff
- Maria Rivera as Anna
- Chyna Layne as Elsa
- Siya as Blaise
- Melonie Diaz as Juani
- Mo McRae as 7 & 7
- Steve Harris as Freddy
- Rotimi Paul as Skeletor
- Kevin Carrigan as General Smiley
In September 2016, James DeMonaco, the creator of the franchise, said that the fourth film, a follow-up to 2016's The Purge: Election Year, would be a prequel to the trilogy, showing how the United States came to the point of accepting the Purge Night.
On February 17, 2017, DeMonaco announced that the fourth installment in The Purge franchise was in development at Universal Studios. DeMonaco did not return as director, but wrote the script and produced the film, with Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller of Platinum Dunes, and Sébastien K. Lemercier.
Kevin Lax composed the score for the film, replacing Nathan Whitehead. Back Lot Music released the soundtrack.
The First Purge has grossed $69.5 million in the United States and Canada, and $67.5 million in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $137 million, against a production budget of $13 million.
In the United States and Canada, The First Purge was released on July 4, 2018, and was projected to gross around $25–36 million from 3,031 theaters over its five-day opening weekend. The film made $9.3 million on its first day, including $2.5 million from Tuesday night previews at 2,350 theaters, and $4.6 million on its second. It went on to open to $17.2 million (and a five-day total of $31.1 million), finishing fourth at the box office.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 54% based on 156 reviews, with an average rating of 5.39/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The First Purge should satisfy fans of the franchise and filmgoers in the mood for violent vicarious thrills, even if its subtextual reach exceeds its grasp." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 54 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.
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