It's 2014 and the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) have taken control of the all the political branches of the government. However, America is not yet the image this new political entity would like. So the government comes up with an experiment. This experiment would take place on Staten Island in New York and would last for 12 hours. During those 12 hours, all laws are no longer in effect. Anything goes. It's time for citizens to get paid to be recorded and unleash the beast, affectionally called by some, "The Purge".
Taking over directing duties from The Purge series creator James DeMonaco (Once Upon a Time in Staten Island) is Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands) directing a script written by DeMoanco. It stars a new group of Purgers and Purgees featuring Y'lan Noel (Insecure), Lex Scott Davis (Superfly), Joivan Wade (Doctor Who), Luna Lauren Velez (Dexter), Patch Darragh (The Path), Rotimi Paul (Blue Bloods), and Marisa Tomei (Spiderman: Homecoming).
McMurray does a great job taking over the directing reigns from DeMonaco. While the First Purge feels like it is part of the series, it also has its own style. There are some unique camera angles and cuts that add to the hyperreality of the film. The cast led by Y'lan Noel and Lex Scott Davis truly personify their characters and the actual fear they have comes flowing off the screen to the audience.
What finally makes this film work is the big elephant that I have been ignoring in the room, and that is the state of the world today. The film terrifies people not with the supernatural but showing what could happen to our society if it continues on its current path. When the Purge was first introduced in 2013 the world was in a different place, yet DeMonaco saw the fear that could turn society into something from the Purge and capitalized on it with his first three films. Not shying away from controversy DeMonaco took The First Purge closer to more of a documentary by using the state of America to feed into the marketing campaign for the film. Even first teaser posters of the Purge showed a red cap in the style of the now infamous "Make America Great Again" caps. In fact, The Purge, once considered mostly a horror film, has morphed into something else. Something that is now being discussed in some circles as a socioeconomic inner look at how our society works.
Presented in 2160p with HDR10 and its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1 The First Purge comes across as a slick music video. Fluorescent colors are highlighted throughout most of the film. The 4K UHD version makes it easier to watch the film than in the theater to see everything that is going on in the shadows. With it's DTS:X audio track Staten Island comes alive audibly all around you. This amazing soundtrack has everything you could ever want. The dialog is crisp and clear, the term "surround sound" really applies as the world of the First Purge envelopes you from all angles. In all sense, this is the perfect audio mix for the film and probably one of the best horror mixes I have ever heard.
The First Purge 4K UHD Combo Pack comes with the 4K disc, a Blu-ray copy of the film, a Digital HD 4K copy you can redeem on Movies Anywhere, and a small offering of extras. These extras, none longer than five minutes in length, really don't provide much insight into the film. They include: a deleted scene and three small featurettes on the making of the film. Hopefully, a follow-up release will contain more.
With the release of The First Purge, the series has now come full circle seeing how the Purge first started and how dangerously close it mirrors today's world. If you are a fan of The Purge series and want to know more about the lore this is a must buy. If you are looking for an introspective look on our society then watch this film. If you are just looking for a fun time than this movie is one you will want to see. Basically, why are you still reading this you should be watching the First Purge NOW!