Film Review: The First Purge (2018)

‘It’s a franchise that has run its course with the first three films, with this one being an unnecessary addition’

The First Purge, 2018

Directed by: Gerard McMurray

Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Lauren Velez, Marisa Tomei


After The Purge trilogy wrapped up with The Purge: Election Year, they’ve decided to tell the story of the first annual Purge, and, unfortunately, they’ve focused on the first Purge more so than all of the tension and build-up towards its inception. With Staten Island chosen as the designated test zone (with it being easily shut off through closing bridges), Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), a gang leader and drug lord, is forced into protecting his friends, including ex-girlfriend, Nya (Lex Scott Davis) and her brother, Isaiah (Joivan Wade), as they fend off Purgers (those out killing during the Purge) ad a organised gang appearing and killing in an organised manner.

This film falls so flat because there’s no story to it; it’s simply unlikable characters being killed off by more unlikable characters while more unlikable characters run around. It almost becomes reminiscent of a Saw film in its treatment of the deaths and when a character dies it doesn’t hit us in any emotional way because they’re so poorly written into the film. Our main character is a drug lord with a ridiculous amount of ammunition in his home; he’s hardly an unfortunate person we should be rooting for. There’s also a running story about the NFFA fixing the results, by purposefully adding trained soldiers to eliminate the more populated slums. It doesn’t come across as a surprise or being very clever, which it could have been portrayed as.

The First Purge, 2

There are some moments where it’s visually impressive, and that mainly comes in the form of the creativity in the masks, a trope of the film franchise, but then even that’s tainted by seeing white people dressed up as members of the KKK while out killing black people. It’s not pleasant or funny it’s white people pretending to be white supremacists to firmly establish that the white man is the villain and all the black characters, of which all our leading characters are, are the heroes. When there’s such an obvious racial stamp being thrown at the film it shows a lack of creativity or originality.

It’s a franchise that has run its course with the first three films, with this one being an unnecessary addition and a rather dull addition at that. It’s a film that lasts over an hour and a half but nothing really exciting or scary or clever happens; it’s full of unlikable characters killing for the sake of killing with no real rhyme or reason for it. It could have been a more politically-focused downfall that leads to the Purge’s inception, but instead it could have been the second Purge, or the third, or the seventeenth; the fact it’s the first makes no difference to the overall story aside from a few NFFA suits talking.


Personal: *     Acting: * *     Writing: *     Presentation: * *

Overall Rating: * ½


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