Critics Say ‘the First Purge’ Is “Ludicrous” and “Grim”

The fourth film in James DeMonaco’s Purge franchise, The First Purge, hits theatres today, July 4. As the name makes clear, the prequel focuses on the events leading up to the very first purge.

A quick look at the trailer had suggested it will be just as bloody and gut-wrenching as its predecessors. However, many critics agree that it might be one of the worst movies in the franchise. With a score of just 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic “Metascore” of 54, the movie has received largely lukewarm reviews.

A handful of critics enjoyed the movie, however, such as The Wrap’s William Bibbiani, who described its “action-packed and rousing finale.” On the other hand, some critics felt it included “clumsy attempts at comedy” and was more “hateful retribution” than socially aware masterpiece.

Watch the trailer below before scrolling through to a selection of the review takeaways.

‘The Purge’ is anything but cathartic. It may indeed be the most damning political allegory in our popular culture. But as cynical as ‘The First Purge’ is about where we’re going, it’s also a healthy reminder that for many, fighting against an oppressive institution is already a way of life. And the fight goes on.

William Bibbiani / The Wrap

Gerard McMurray delivers an often artful and rousing action film that’s also deeply engaged with contemporary politics and social issues.

Henry Stewart / Slant

Boiling off the divisive political subtext and its associated sociological aspects, what we’re left with is an old-fashioned exploitation thriller. Seen in that context, ‘The First Purge’ isn’t half-bad. It’s competently made, delivers its share of thrills and edge-of-the-seat moments, and gives the audience an opportunity to stand up and cheer.

James Berardinelli / Reelviews

‘The First Purge’ is another absurd B-movie, uneven and ludicrous across the board, but altogether transfixing for the way it funnels Trump-era terror into an empowering crowdpleaser.

Eric Kohn / IndieWire

‘The First Purge’ is a slipshod B-movie comic book rooted in gangbanger clichés. It’s a threadbare ‘Boyz N the Hood’ meets ‘Lord of the Flies.’

Owen Gleiberman / Variety

Clumsy attempts at comedy are weaved in to try and alleviate the remarkable grimness but all it really does is add to an uneven tone.

Benjamin Lee / The Guardian

Gerard McMurray’s ‘The First Purge’ still fails to establish a persuasive connection to our own moment in time — its occasional winks to current events serving as limp zingers instead of stinging commentary. Though its action and few novel elements may satisfy many of those who’re willing to pay for a fourth visit to this unconvincing dystopia, series creator James DeMonaco (serving only as screenwriter here) appears to be running out of ideas for the franchise.

John DeFore / The Hollywood Reporter

Will you go to see The First Purge? Let us know in the comments.

Next, meet Brighton Zeuner, the 13-year-old skateboard prodigy and X Games winner.

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