Published on October 9th, 2018 | by Dan Nicholls


The First Purge – The Blu ray, DVD, and Digital Release

We look at the bluray release of The First Purge, the prequel (and fourth movie) in the Purge franchise.  How do the features stack up?


It’s that time of the year again! The time where we dip into the Blumhouse well and spend another evening of crime and murder in the universe of The Purge. Since the first film was a breakout surprise in 2013 we’ve seen two sequels: 2014’s The Purge: Anarchy and 2016’s The Purge: Election Year. We finally go back to where it all began with the Blu-ray and digital release of this summer’s prequel hit The First Purge.

After a group calling themselves the New Founding Fathers of America wins control of the US government, they begin their Purge program by targeting the angriest criminals to place in the most vulnerable of neighborhoods. By giving them one evening to let all of their anger out in any way imaginable, the NFFA hopes to start a cultural and ethnic cleansing to write a new nation all of their own.

We follow a small group of fighters including Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), Nya (Lex Scott Davis), and Isaiah (Joivan Wade) as they navigate their way to safety in Staten Island. Among the sinister personalities they must contend with is the terrifying Skeletor (Rotimi Paul), as visually distinctive with skin modifications and tattoos as he is quietly threatening; he stalks through the alleys and the streets drenched with blood and becomes of the series’ most indelible characters.

As our heroes try to stay alive through the night, the audience is treated to a grisly array of violence and carnage making The First Purge a hard-R bloodfest perfectly timed to enjoy at home for Halloween. The film is most scary because it feels like we’re just a few steps away from some actual NFFA unleashing class warfare in real life. The Purge series, beginning with Anarchy, refocused itself to serve stories of the underdogs, the underrepresented and the oppressed. It’s hard not to cheer for the common folks to live to see another day here.

The home video release of The First Purge is now available on digital download, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD. Special features include three featurettes and a deleted scene:

Deleted Scene – this is a short moment excised from the film’s third act that’s only notable because it gives us more screentime with Skeletor. He pops up, scares some people, and jumps out a window. We know he will return later for the big showdown with our heroes, so this cut scene would have only gotten in the way of our path to the really good stuff down the line.

A Radical Experiment (featurette) – a standard-issue press piece involving clips, BTS footage, and interviews with the cast and crew as they talk about what The First Purge brings to the table. Extra attention is paid to the series’ ongoing social relevance in these troubled times.

Bringing the Chaos (featurette) – the violence and special effects of the film are given center stage here, as the filmmakers discuss the challenges faced to keep the scares fresh and the audience invested considering it’s the fourth film in the franchise to date.

The Masks of The First Purge (featurette) – a quick little look at designing some of the iconic masks that populate the film and are prevalent in each chapter’s marketing campaign. No matter where you stand on the series, it’s impossible not to acknowledge the effectiveness of these visual touches that amp up the terror considerably.

The First Purge doesn’t quite measure up to the thrills of Anarchy and Election Year but is miles ahead of the original Purge that started it all. This concept could spawn sequels for generations, so this just might be the beginning of what is measuring up to be one long examination of America’s obsession with violence.

Fans of the previous films are going to find all of their itches scratched here, while newbies won’t be converted. For the faithful, this release would mark a solid addition to your collection and regular rotation in future October horror movie marathons.

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is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls

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