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||$136.3 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, 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.
- Y'lan Noel as Dmitri
- Lex Scott Davis as Nya
- Joivan Wade as Isaiah
- Mugga as Dolores
- Christian Robinson as Capital A
- Lauren Velez as Luisa
- Kristen Solis as Selina
- Marisa Tomei as Dr. May Updale/The Architect
- Cindy Robinson as Purge Announcement Voice
- 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 $69.1 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.
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 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." 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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