Three films into its run, The Purge franchise remains one of the great low-budget success stories of this decade, and has become one of the money-making mainstays of horror-heavy production company Blumhouse. We've seen the clever, effective original film, its inevitable sequel, and the game-changing Election Year.
Now we get to go back to where it all began. The trailer for The First Purge, the first prequel film in the series, dropped Friday, and while all of the survivor horror hallmarks of the franchise remain intact, what's perhaps more interesting this time around is exactly how this nationwide 12-hour period of violence came to be.
It all starts, as the other films have told us, with the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), who wanted The Purge as an experimental method for lowering crime rates throughout the rest of the year. To that end, they recruited an expert (Marisa Tomei) to design and implement a kind of test version. The first Purge is implemented not nationwide, but in a single community, where it can be monitored and studied before it's implemented in a wider area. Things start off surprisingly mellow, as most people would rather use the "all crime is legal" premise of the night to do things like get high and party. The government needs violence, though, and so what started out as an isolated sociological experiment quickly erupts into something more when outside players enter the game.
It would have been relatively easy for The Purge franchise to simply tell a few loosely connected tales of survival horror all built on the same basic set of rules. You make some money, you crank out a few sequels, and you're done. Creator James DeMonaco, who returns to script this installment once again, doesn't seem satisfied with that, though. With each new installment The Purge franchise makes an effort to challenge and twist its own rules in creative new ways, and this prequel looks to be no different.
The First Purge arrives July 4. Check out the trailer below.