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The Purge A Total Breakdown

April 5th, 2023The Purge A Total Breakdown

What would happen if crime was legal for one night every year? This terrifying question is the central premise of THE PURGE, a film set in a dystopian future where criminal activity is allowed for 12 hours every year. The movie centers around a family of four as they fight to survive an assault by vicious home invaders.

It has been a decade since THE PURGE established an alternate, dystopian vision of America. Each subsequent installment would explore a different time period in this distinctively chaotic future, including the very beginning of this bizarre society in director Gerard McMurray’s 2018 prequel, THE FIRST PURGE.

As 2023 marks the tenth anniversary of the intense thriller that started it all, let’s refresh the full history of the most dangerous night in this franchise’s version of America. Since the series is known to move forward and backward in time from one movie to the next the following is a comprehensive and chronological guide to the franchise.

The First Purge (2018)

THE FIRST PURGE takes place in 2016. In the film, a villainous organization known as the New Founding Fathers of America establish a new government in the United States. Under their leadership, Dr. May Updale (Marisa Tomei) proposes to legalize crime for one night a year to give people a way to release their anger.

The experiment is dubbed “The Purge,” and it’s met with heavy opposition from the American people. Despite the outcry, however, the Founding Fathers move forward with their plans and decide to test out the Purge in a contained environment. With the Purge in effect, a group of people led by a man named William (Y’lan Noel) band together to fight back and protect helpless bystanders.

The Purge (2013)

The first installment in the franchise is the second one, chronologically. The film takes place in 2022, six years after the first Purge. This chapter centers around James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), a wealthy home security expert who locks himself inside his house with wife Mary (Lena Headey) and his two children, to wait for the annual Purge to end.

Things are turned upside down for the Sandins when a wounded man (Edwin Hodge) begs the family for help. Shortly after welcoming their unexpected guest, the Sandins are forced to fight for their lives when a group of violent criminals break into their house. The movie shows how privileged people accepted the Purge, and how they begrudgingly try to incorporate it into their lifestyles.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

THE PURGE: ANARCHY offers a wider perspective on the chaotic country defined by the Purge. This chapter takes place in 2023, one year after the first installment, and focuses on four civilians, a married couple and a mother-daughter duo, as they fight to survive the Purge while out on the streets. Fortunately, they are not forced to endure the situation alone. Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo), a hardened police officer looking for revenge against the man who killed his son, comes across the helpless group and vows to get them through the night. For the most part, THE PURGE: ANARCHY stands alone from its predecessor. There is one significant callback, however: Dwayne, the man who spent a Purge night with the Sandins, plays an important role in the film as the co-leader of an anti-Purge group.

The Purge (2018-2019)

Franchise creator James DeMonaco developed a TV series for the USA network that takes place within the same universe, but from new, refreshing perspectives. The first season of “The Purge” takes place over the course of one violent night in 2027, while the second and final run follows a new cast of characters in the aftermath of the 2036 Purge and how they deal with its consequences as the following year’s event approaches.

The Purge: Election Year (2016)

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR initially seemed to serve as the closing chapter to the saga’s storyline. The movie is set in 2040, and focuses on Charlie Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell), a US Senator looking to be elected President. She wants to end The Purge. Her road to success isn’t without its perils, though. Her promise to abolish The Purge doesn’t sit well with the New Founding Fathers of America, and they plot to have her killed during the annual event. Fortunately, Roan isn’t alone. The ever-reliable Leo Barnes, who now works as Roan’s head of security, is tasked with keeping her safe until The Purge comes to an end. The mission isn’t easy, but Barnes succeeds with the help of an anti-Purge alliance and a courageous group of civilians. Two months after that night, Roan is elected President of the United States, and she promises to put an end to the Purge.

The Forever Purge (2021)

Unfortunately, eight years after the election that put Roan in the White House, the NFFA would manage to regain power and resurrect the deadly, annual event once again. However, the following year – in 2049 – a group that calls itself the Purge Purification Force decides that the carnage should not last only one night and, instead, should never end.

The aptly titled THE FOREVER PURGE follows migrant couple Adela (Ana de la Reguera from ARMY OF THE DEAD) and Juan (BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER’s Tenoch Huerta) and others struggling to escape the country overrun with Purgers. Due to the antagonists’ rebellious approach to the violence, the sequel is the first in the series to show much of the action taking place in the daytime.

Apparently, there is a chance that the carnage really could last forever. According to Frank Grillo’s comments to JoBlo in February 2023, a script for a sixth installment of the PURGE franchise exists and the star is ready to play Leo Barnes once again. We shall see where this intense and thought-provoking saga takes us in due time.