Kyle Says THE FIRST PURGE Won’t Make America Great Again…But It’s A Solid Horror Film.

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FILM REVIEW: THE FIRST PURGE

BY KYLE ARANGO

The Purge has always been an interesting concept that has been executed poorly. The idea that one night a year all crime is legal is something that can be dissected into something special. After three films, it seemed that the well had run dry on the Purge franchise. Now the creators had a new idea. Why don’t we go back to where it all started? Thus we get The First Purge. Could this be the film that brings quality to the franchise? The answer is yes! The First Purge is a well-executed horror film that revitalizes The Purge franchise.

The First Purge takes us to where the economy is in the toilet, riots are everywhere, and the country is overpopulated. This leads to a new political party floating an idea of an “experiment” that makes all crime legal for one night. The catch? It will only take place on Staten Island and if it is successful, it could stretch nationwide. What The First Purge does so well is they make the concept seem like a real thing. We see people volunteering to participate in this for money. These people are ones who are struggling to get by and here comes the government offering them money to murder people. Except for one crazed maniac, most of the characters are very grounded. The first half of this film is executed very well by setting this up, but unfortunately the second half just squanders what had been done.

Though the film is based on a political move, it does get to be a little too much and throws out the story. The first poster was mocking Donald Trump’s “make America great again” red hats with them saying “The First Purge” on them. Getting political is what ruined the third film and they fall into the same trap here. The character motivations were all well established and there to tell a story of human nature. It created a space to show how some people are doing this so that they can better their lives. They could’ve explored this concept of people slowly letting their hate come out while debating their morality, but instead they go for the obvious. You can tell who the villain is going to be immediately and when the “twist” happens, you can see it coming a mile away. This is just disappointing as the film was doing such a great job at establishing this world and they just threw it out the window to make a forthtelling political statement. They even make a point to mention the NRA is supporting this new political party. It is such a shame as there is much to enjoy about The First Purge.

While the politics hurt The First Purge, there is still stuff to admire. This is a horror film and yes, there are cheap jump scares, but they are overshadowed by some excellent horror decisions. The people who sign up for the experiment are required to wear contacts that have cameras in them. These contacts create a blue, yellow, or green tint around the eyes that are used so well to give creepiness. When it is night time and the only thing you can see in a window is two green eyes just looking at you, which is very unsettling and adds to the tension. Speaking of the characters, there are two excellent actors here that are some up and comers. Lex Scott Davis plays Nya who holds the strength of a person who is just trying to better her community. Y’lan Noel is the star who plays a drug lord with a heart. He commands attention when he is on screen and his presence is felt even when he is absent. Noel does become a bit of the Terminator-esque at one point but it’s nothing to complain about. Both stars have some bright futures in the making. There is also a fun little Easter egg here where in a person’s apartment there is a poster for Halloween on his wall. Not the original, the one coming out in October 2018. So yes, Blumhouse just promoted another movie of theirs within their own movie.

The First Purge is a solid B-level horror fil that revitalizes the franchise. Making it become a little too political hurt it but not to the point of non-enjoyment. There’s tension throughout and well placed creepy points. This movie did its job and I would recommend it to horror fans who need their appetites satisfied.

 

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