The Government Plays Boogeyman in Politically Charged ‘The First Purge’

CinemaCon 2018: Jason Blum tees up a prequel that is horrifyingly timely

Last Updated: April 26, 2018 @ 3:19 PM

In “The First Purge,” the government is the boogeyman.

Low-budget horror guru Jason Blum showed up to CinemaCon on Wednesday to hype one of his core franchises at Blumhouse Productions, and an extended look for movie theater owners shows the film is timelier than ever in its fourth iteration.

The “Purge” universe is one with a terrifyingly plausible premise: Once a year, for twelve hours, all crime including murder is legal. It’s posited as a healing and necessary venting of societal and personal frustration, one that allows for peaceful coexistence every other day of the year.

Under the direction of “Burning Sands” helmer Gerard McMurray, “The First Purge” is a pilot program conceived by a public figure played by Marisa Tomei. She’s Ivanka blonde, well dressed and deft at selling the country on a hedonistic crime spree.

But an African American community galvanizes and protests the idea, aware that civility is at stake. The purge commences, and the rate of participation is immediately dissatisfying to its architects.

In no time, the government sends soldiers into minority neighborhoods disguised as civilians, attempting to wipe out entire communities using the purge as a shield.

“Horror lets us wrestle with the evil of the real world,” McMurray told the convention.

With heavy themes invoking the Black Lives Matter movement, gun control and the call to #Resist after the 2016 election, the film seems to make good on its haunting first marketing image: the movie’s title emblazoned on a red baseball cap, a direct parody of President Donald Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

It’s not immediately known when the full “First Purge” trailer will hit the web.