The First Purge

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The First Purge
The First Purge poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGerard McMurray
Produced by
Written byJames DeMonaco
Music byKevin Lax
CinematographyAnastas Michos
Edited byJim Page
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • July 4, 2018 (2018-07-04) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$13 million[2]
Box office$136.3 million[2]

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, Luna Lauren Velez, Kristen Solis, and Marisa Tomei. The fourth installment in the Purge franchise, the film is a prequel depicting the origins of the first annual "Purge", a 12-hour span once a year in which all crime in America is legal. 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 $136 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing entry in the franchise, but, like its predecessors, received mixed reviews from critics.


A crazed drug addict named Skeletor talks on camera about his dark thoughts, including his desire to "purge" and unleash his hatred on other people. An unknown voice on the other end of the camera tells Skeletor that he will soon be able to.

Sometime in the 21st century, turmoil has caused the government to be overthrown by the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA). NFFA members Arlo Sabian and 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. The NFFA offers residents of the Island $5000 to stay in their homes during the experiment and a compensation for those participating as well. They also outfit the participants with tracking devices and contact lenses with cameras in them so that they can monitor all activity. Drug lord Dmitri tells his dealers that they will be leaving but drug dealer Capital A wants to stay and purge. Another young drug dealer, Isaiah, gets into a fight with Skeletor and gets his neck cut. Isaiah goes to his sister Nya, an anti-Purge activist and Dimitri's ex-girlfriend, for treatment, and Nya later confronts Dmitri as she believes that Dmitri is Isaiah's drug lord, which he denies.

As people flee Staten Island on the night of the experiment, 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 murder during the Purge, 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, unbeknownst to his sister, joins the Purge to get his revenge on Skeletor. He eventually confronts him during the Purge but cannot shoot him. Skeletor chases Isaiah throughout the streets but Isaiah manages to hide and he calls Nya to 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 stabs him in the back and they escape.

Nya and Isaiah return to the church to see blood-soaked Purgers leaving it. They discover that Luisa and Selina survived, but Dolores' fate is unknown. They all return to Nya’s apartment where Dolores has made it safely. At the NFFA headquarters, Updale starts becoming suspicious due to the Purge's sudden change in the crimes committed, as well as the presence of masked participants. She reviews the video footage of the Purge and tracks where the vans of the masked killers came from. She discovers that these people are trained mercenary groups killing multiple civilians, including the ones at the church earlier. Sabian explains that he sent the mercenaries to make the experiment look successful, and eventually to help "balance" the rich and the poor. Updale protests this tampering of the experiment and informs Sabian her realization that NFFA only wants to eradicate the poor because they don't want to take care of them. With Sabian's corruption revealed, he has Updale taken away and killed, before erasing all footage of the event.

Capital A goes to Dmitri's office to see the results of Anna and Elsa's efforts, but Dmitri and his gang kill Capital A. Dmitri and his gang escape through the streets, killing multiple Purgers along the way, until NFFA drones shoot and kill Dmitri's gang. Dmitri calls Nya and warns her that the mercenaries are coming toward her apartment. Dmitri makes his way to the apartment, killing more mercenaries along the way. 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.[3]



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.[7] 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.[8]

In July 2017, Gerard McMurray, the director of Sundance film Burning Sands, was hired to direct the film from the script by DeMonaco.[9]


On September 19, 2017, newcomers Y'lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis were cast in the film as the lead characters, and the setting was announced as Staten Island.[4]


Principal photography began in mid September 2017 in Buffalo, New York. Filming wrapped on November 8, 2017.[10][11]


Kevin Lax composed the score for the film, replacing Nathan Whitehead. Back Lot Music released the soundtrack.


Box office[edit]

The First Purge has grossed $69.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $67.2 million in other territories for a total worldwide gross of $136.3 million, against a production budget of $13 million.[2]

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.[12][13] 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.[14] It went on to open to $17.2 million (and a five-day total of $31.1 million), finishing fourth at the box office.[15]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 55% based on 135 reviews, with an average rating of 5.4/10. 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."[16] 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".[17] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B–" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "THE FIRST PURGE (15)". British Board of Film Classification. June 19, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "The First Purge (2018)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  3. ^ "Does The First Purge Have An End-Credits Scene?". 4 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Sneider, Jeff (September 19, 2017). ""The Purge" Prequel Sets Two Leads, Including "Insecure" Star Y'lan Noel (Exclusive)". The Tracking Board. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Chitwood, Adam (October 20, 2017). "Check Out Synopses for 2018 Universal Films 'Jurassic World 2', 'The Purge 4', and More". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  6. ^ Trumbore, Dave (January 31, 2018). "'The First Purge': First Trailer for the Prequel Stirs Up American Pride". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  7. ^ Eisenberg, Eric (September 29, 2016). "This Is What The Purge 4 Will Be About". Cinemablend. GatewayBlend Entertainment. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  8. ^ Kit, Borys (February 17, 2017). "New 'Purge' Movie Gets Summer 2018 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  9. ^ Kit, Borys (July 20, 2017). "'Purge 4' Finds Director in Sundance Filmmaker". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved July 22, 2017.
  10. ^ Perlman, Marissa (September 25, 2017). "Major motion picture franchise: 'The Purge' set to be shot in Western New York". WIVB. Nexstar Broadcasting. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  11. ^ Axelson, Ben (September 26, 2017). "'The Purge 4' just started filming in Buffalo: Who's starring, what's it about?". Advance Local Media. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  12. ^ McClintock, Pamela (June 14, 2018). "'Ant-Man and the Wasp' Tracking for $75M Box-Office Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony; Tartaglione, Nancy (July 3, 2018). "'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Bound To Swell To $155M+ Worldwide Start, But Could Grow Bigger". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  14. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 5, 2018). "'The First Purge' Slays $9.4M As Dinos Run Toward $300M – Independence Day Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 5, 2018.
  15. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 8, 2018). "'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Shrinks A Tick To $76M+ Opening, But Still 34% Bigger Than Original – Early Sunday Read". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  16. ^ "The First Purge (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved August 23, 2018.
  17. ^ "The First Purge Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 5, 2018.

External links[edit]