Film review – The First Purge

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THE First Purge’, the fourth movie in the horror franchise, lacks the energy, passion and scares of previous outings.

A monotonous John Carpenter-esque prequel, this film takes us back to the roots of the murderous social experiment at its core, whereby citizens of Staten Island are not only free but also encouraged to commit murder over a 12-hour period without reprisal.

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Directed by Gerard McMurray, we are brought back here to the not so humble beginnings of this annual festival of lawlessness. And sure, it starts well enough, but it goes down the plughole pretty fast after the first half an hour.

The New Founding Fathers of America use violence to push the crime rate below one per cent with those who take part offered $5,000 for releasing their inner serial killer.

If loud and over the top ‘slasher’ fare are your thing, you might be amused, albeit briefly. For the most part ‘The First Purge’ proves disappointing and certainly not a high point for the anarchic franchise.

You get the impression that McMurray was hoping to drive a point home here. Could this perhaps be his ham-fisted way of taking a swipe at President Trump while cheekily doffing a ‘Make America Great Again’ baseball cap?

If that was the case, he has seriously misfired and wasted an opportunity to make a much more timely and powerful statement.

Rather than making a potent social commentary about America in 2018, this mostly just feels like a hackneyed mash-up of ‘Judgment Night’ and Assault on Precinct 13’.