It’s no secret new-era titan of horror and the brains behind the politically fueled scares of The First Purge, Blumhouse, is very much dialing in on the current state of American politics. But it works, even if the lack of subtlety makes the movie slightly eye-rollingly cliche.
In a desperate effort to control violence and crime in the United States (sound familiar?), the government are trialing a night of consequence-less violence and crime, viewed by the politicians and the public through wearable tech (sound familiar?), to see how successful it is, thus creating scandalous ‘how the other half lives’ reality TV, raking in viewers by the million (sound familiar?). We watch movies to escape real life, right? So when a movie reflects and plays on reality to this terrifying level of realism, how can in not be scary?
Set in Staten Island in a racially diverse, low income community, the movie focuses on Nya and Isaiah, a young brother and sister duo growing up without parental figures, Nya a freedom fighter and activist, her brother a good kid, but angry at the world and getting himself into all kinds of trouble. Apparently Nya’s ex is the local drug lord, with thousands of dollars and all the guns and girls he could wish for at his disposal. Other than the government, were introduced to the villainous Skeletor, a crack addict picked to participate in the ‘experiment’ because who better to show the effects on non-consequential crime than someone who doesn’t care about the consequences of crime anyway. On the surface, the characters are all pretty stereotypical, but that’s forgivable thanks to some decent performances. And let’s face it, nobody watches these movies for Oscar winning portrayals of thought provoking individuals, we just want to see graphic violence.
And graphic violence we get, with the film definitely not letting fans down with OTT murders and torture plans. Turns out when everything’s legal, people get mad creative with their crimes. Blumhouse never disappoints when it comes to in your face gross, shocking gore, and this movie definitely doesn’t.
Some viewers are arguing the movie is too politically charged, but its that that makes it all the more powerful. It is less than subtle in its message, so if you don’t like your pop culture politically driven, you should probably get back under your rock and avoid this one. If you can look past it though, you’ll see a scary and gory horror flick that works well as its own standalone film and as the prequel to the Purge franchise. And it has a pretty cool soundtrack to boot.