The First Purge

Vampire Owl: Do you remember those moments when this was first implemented in the werewolf territory?

Vampire Bat: What are you talking about?

Vampire Owl: The day when werewolves brutally murdered each other.

Vampire Bat: How can I know? I am not spending my time looking at whatever happens in that territory.

Vampire Owl: Well, you should know that it was not that bloody as it would be if humans implemented it.

Vampire Bat: I know. Nobody I know is as blood-thirsty as an average human.

Vampire Owl: Because it is quite natural for them to be evil. They choose it with ease, while we are declared to be evil because we are undead.

Vampire Bat: I have never been that fond of their categorizations.

Vampire Owl: It is more or less, the divisions.

Vampire Bat: The divisions guide them towards eternal hate.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Arrowroot Biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: We remember that the New Founding Fathers of America, a totalitarian political party, came into power after an economic collapse. There was the law that sanctioned an annual Purge for twelve hours each year, when all types of crime, including murder, would be legal, with emergency services being unavailable. It helped the United States to become nearly crime-free with the unemployment rate dropping to the lowest ever. Earlier movies had mentioned those families and people who struggled during these times to survive against the chaos which was unleashed. This movie goes a few years back from there, as there was the time when this was beginning to be attempted on a trial basis. This experiment would be taking place on Staten Island, which is the southernmost as well as the westernmost of the five boroughs of New York City.

So, what happens next? :: New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) members Arlo Sabian (Patch Darragh) and Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei) announce a social experiment which is to take place in the island. It proclaims the twelve hours of purge, an activity during which the residents could be involved in anything illegal, including, robbery, rape and murder. There is also the offer for the residents of the Island to have $5000 to stay in their homes during the experiment and also a suitable compensation for those who would be participating in the brutality. There would be no ambulance or police, and the criminals would be on the streets with those who wish to go illegal. The participants would have tracking devices and contact lenses with cameras, so that whatever activity they do, can be tracked, and some of them can be even shown in the television channels. There are also those drones which would be monitoring everything from the sky.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Among those who leads the purge is a drug addict known as Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) who also manages to draw the first blood with a brutal murder, and tries to follow up the same with raping women and murdering anyone whom he finds on the street. Nya (Lex Scott Davis), an anti-purge activist who fails to stop the experiment, joins her friends Dolores (Mugga), Luisa (Lauren Velez), and Selina (Kristen Solis) in a church which they find to be the safest place on the island. Most of the people in the church had decided to stay because they are very poor and the amount of 5000 meant that they could have three meals a day after a long time. Meanwhile, the purge keeps getting stronger on the streets, and Skeletor leads the kill count by randomly attacking purge parties held all around the island. It is then that the drug lord and Nya’s former boyfriend Dmitri (Y’lan Noel) finds out that there is something strange about the purge – then, things change.

The defence of The First Purge :: The human impulse to go towards savagery against civilization, continues to be shown in this purge movie too. We are reminded of humanity’s inherent evil, and the never-ending desire to be free by punishing and murdering others and having extreme joy out of it. The First Purge also boasts about a lot of action in store, and we can see the experiment in the lines of The Belko Experiment taking place here, with some bringing death and the others trying to survive. There is some intense action in the final stages of the movie, and there is he reflection of what the politicians and the government has always tried to achieve, to divide and rule people, as well as make sure that the poor are among the dead, more than any other category, thus lessening poverty, hunger and unemployment to a level which can be managed. The First Purge has that idea which has a lot of truth, and it meets our soul once again as it did with other Purge flicks.

The claws of flaw :: One might feel that this version of purge might be the weakest of all similar movies. With the idea already established, and three interesting movies already made, we would expect the franchise to do better this time, but it doesn’t, as long as this particular movie is concerned. The cast is also not that strong, even Lex Scott Davis stands above the rest, and Y’lan Noel does have his moments. With the purge, there is always the chance for further innovations, but this one stands behind in that case. There no further venturing into that idea which could gather a lot of appreciation if used in the best manner. As we have watched all other purge movies, this one has more of repetition rather than anything else. The atrocities committed with this purge could have portrayed further, with humanity’s nature being questioned in a stronger and shocking manner.

How it finishes :: The Purge franchise has made all of us think, and with The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year, we have all been thinking about its basic idea, and relate it to humanity, society and the inherent evil in man which forces one to achieve catharsis in one way or the other. In our world, we have bandhs and harthals were political goons try to destroy property and people stay at home fearing this. Further north, there have been communal violence and riots in the name of dead cows, and all of these are options for those who need to take law into their hand and commit all kinds of atrocities. The Purge has one tale to tell in a part of the world, and another somewhere else. The whole humanity is driven towards that idea which William Golding showed in the 1954 novel, Lord of the Flies – The inherent evil becomes the truth, and committing all kinds of atrocities can be done naturally by humans.

Release date: 4th July 2018
Running time: 97 minutes
Directed by: Gerard McMurray
Starring: Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Steve Harris, Mugga, Christian Robinson, Lauren Velez, Kristen Solis, Marisa Tomei, Cindy Robinson, Patch Darragh, Maria Rivera, Chyna Layne, Siya, Melonie Diaz, Mo McRae, Rotimi Paul, Kevin Carrigan

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

2 thoughts on “The First Purge

  1. Pingback: Anjaam Pathiraa | Movies of the Soul: Best of Cinema

  2. Pingback: Anveshanam | Movies of the Soul: Best of Cinema

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