The First Purge: bringing excitement, action to terrible circumstances

Movie regurgitates prior film series story, tries to make it more relatable

MORGAN LESTER, Evergreen columnist

There are movies where I will decide whether I will never see them or view them at the lowest price possible because of the trailer. “The First Purge,” the most recent addition to the “Purge” film series, is one of these movies.

For those unfamiliar, “The First Purge” serves as both a prequel to the previous two movies as well as a preview of sorts to the TV series. The story centers on the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), the government leading America following turmoil that led to the overthrowing of the previous government.

The movie begins as an experiment on Staten Island and as the night unfolds it reveals the future the NFFA has for the nation. Additionally, the film throws front and center the full slasher bounty it has to offer as the participants attempt to survive the night.

“I don’t love the ‘Purge’ movies, because it’s all very expected and it feels like the same thing with something different each time,” said Madison Arpin, the director of films at the Student Entertainment Board. “I am excited to see this one but I’m expecting a lot of the same stuff.”

Personally, I think that using “expected” to describe a horror movie means there has been a failure to produce a good and scary movie. I’m not suggesting jump scares aren’t allowed or body horror isn’t real horror. I’m saying they have to be used in the right way at the right time or it will fail to surprise the audience in a way that sticks with them after they leave the theater.

While “The First Purge” has been better at scaring its audience than its predecessors, for me it still doesn’t redeem itself nor the rest of the series for one key reason: the sheer lack of world-building.

What do I mean by world-building? When creating a story, you have to create a believable setting. Its government, history, tension, dividing issues and the like all must be developed. Some films borrow straight from the real world and add on characteristics from there. For me, “The First Purge” needed more focus because it’s not there.

When you set a premise such as in “The Purge,” where a night of all crime is legal, murderers run rampant and so on, you need to give a reason for it to exist. What made people stand down? How did the government that enacted this come to power? With this being said, this movie has serious gaps in it which drives me batty.

However, I am only one man and popularity is sometimes … a little out there.

“I’ve heard, ‘I love the ‘Purge’ movies and this one gives a preface to all the others …’ and fair enough, but I’ve heard really good things from people that I’ve talked to and it’s extremely popular,” Arpin said.

For those wanting to see another damn slasher, “The First Purge” will be in the CUB Auditorium this weekend. It will be showing at 6 and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday. There is free popcorn while supplies last and tickets are free for students and $2 for guests.

If you really want to see a lot of blood, guts, gore and not much else, that’s your prerogative. I just reserve the right to remind you how uncultured you are.