Could “The First Purge” be the next “Get Out”?

A person in a scary horned mask is in the foreground as black men are possibly partying amid a disturbing color scheme.

I’ve never been a person who loved horror films, so I definitely haven’t watched any of The Purge series. But I’m extremely interested in The First Purge, directed by Gerard McMurray and starring Y’Lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Luna Lauren Velez and Marisa Tomei. Check out the trailer and read the plot synopsis for yourself.

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.

Coming off the most successful film in the series, The Purge: Election Year, creator James DeMonaco (writer/director of The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year) returns alongside the producers of this worldwide phenomenon: Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (Insidious series, Get Out, Split), Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ouija series, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), and DeMonaco’s longtime production partner, Sébastien K. Lemercier (Assault on Precinct 13, Four Lovers).

The First Purge is directed by Gerard McMurray (Burning Sands), working from a screenplay once again written by DeMonaco.

Now, is it just me, but does this film seem like it could become the next Get Out in that it’s a seemingly unassuming film that comes out of nowhere with a big, impactful, resonant racial and social message? I think it could be that kind of sleeper hit, especially since McMurray, who has worked on Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station and directed black fraternity-based drama Burning Sands.

I mean, The First Purge‘s storyline is already evocative, since it’s basically discussing how America’s entrenched racism against black and brown bodies has been used to better the lives of white Americans. The test community for the first purge is one majority POC? It’s certainly not an accident this particular community was chosen. The fact that the government comes in to make sure the experiment works–as you see in the trailer, the citizens didn’t want to kill each other; they just used the relaxed freedoms to have a big party–further shows how America is willing to sacrifice its citizens on the basis of race.

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I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be in the theater to see it (because I have to protect my mind, which can’t take a lot in the way of killing and fear) but I’m certainly ready to see how other critics dissect this film. I might not be in the theaters, but consider me interested in what this movie has to say. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll watch it when it comes on DVD, surrounded by family, and with pillows to hold up to my eyes in case I need to shield myself.

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