The First Purge is the latest installment in the Blumhouse franchise and with every Blumhouse movie, it’s a tossup between really good or really bad. This is the latter of those options. It’s a prequel in the franchise and was probably made to answer the most obvious question with the franchise’s premise: why would anyone actually want the purge to happen? However, what the filmmakers offer in terms of answers will leave audiences underwhelmed and slightly annoyed.
The main issue with the film is that it doesn’t know what it wants to be; whether it’s a horror, action, or social commentary. The story is divided into three parts. There’s the slow opening twenty minutes of backstory and exposition of the “experiment,” the start of the purge, and the end of the purge.
There is some tension as to what would happen when the purge starts and even some suspense with one character named Isaiah wanting to kill another called Skeletor, but they gave up on that plot almost immediately to focus on Dmitri, the closest thing to a protagonist the film has, and his gang. Instead of a lot of cool death sequences filled with horror and suspense, it basically becomes Rambo on Staten Island as Dmitri recruits his gang and they hunt down all of the bad guys. Of course, keeping in franchise fashion, all of the bad guys were wearing intricate masks and spooky costumes. It becomes obvious that the filmmakers were throwing in as many spooky, back-alley set ups and crazy-costumed characters as possible to use them at Universal’s Halloween Horror nights.
Toward the end of the film, the filmmakers knew how ridiculous the movie had gotten, so they threw in some comedic relief. One character basically says what the audience was thinking with the level of stupidity and craziness happening around them. Not only was the story horrible, the filmmaking elements were just as bad. The crappy CGI exploding body parts were almost comical. Apparently, the filmmakers believe when someone is shot in the head, it explodes.
Whose Review give The First Purge the overall score of Run for Your Life. The premise of the Purge series isn’t for everyone, but at least it was an interesting concept, the first time. With this being the fourth installment and a prequel, nothing about it was original or entertaining. They tried to answer questions, but just made everything dumber. The only redeeming quality it had was serving as a preview for the Purge scare zone for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights.
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