the first purge

Oh, boy. They went there.

The first poster for The First Purge, the fourth film in the series and a prequel set years before the events of part one, has arrived and it’s…well, just look at it. This series has always worn its politics on its blood-soaked sleeve, but this is just active trolling.

Remember when The Purge: Election Year — the third movie in a series set in a science fiction dystopia where an authoritarian government legalizes crime one night a year to allow the wealthy and powerful to consolidate power as lower classes are decimated (the actual, literal text of the second and third movies, so don’t give me that “keep politics out of my horror movies!” spiel) — advertised itself with the slogan “Keep America Great”? Yeeeah. But this is a step beyond that.

the first purge

That red hat with that white font doesn’t need an introduction in the year 2018. You know exactly which buttons are being pushed here.

This message will only come as a surprise to the people who haven’t seen the Purge movies. Sure, that high-concept premise promises trashy, exploitative, and gory mayhem, but the movies are also, undeniably, works of political protest art and they have never been shy about their messaging. Even when these movies don’t quite work, they’re swinging for the fences in a way that most mainstream horror movies never even think about. They’re totally wild and have a lot on their mind. I kind of love them and think we’ll be studying them as fascinating cultural artifacts in a few decades. The Post may get all of the press as the first movie to react to the current political climate, but The Purge has been walking on similar turf for five years now.

Anyway, we’ve known since last September that the fourth Purge movie would be a prequel set on the first Purge night, but back then it was called The Purge: The Island. That old title refers to Staten Island, where the Purge is tested for the first time. Here’s the new synopsis for the film:

Behind every tradition lies a revolution.  Next Independence Day, witness the rise of our country’s 12 hours of annual lawlessness.  Welcome to the movement that began as a simple experiment: The First Purge. To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community.  But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the marginalized, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

The First Purge will be directed by Gerard McMurray, with series mainstay James DeMonaco once again writing the screenplay (he’s also working on that Purge TV show). Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez and Marisa Tomei all star. The film will hit theaters on July 4, 2018.

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