If you frequent social media you might get the notion that the world has become an increasingly violent place. One can argue that there is still an abundance of violence happening not only abroad but in our backyard. "The Purge" franchise has always been a horror movie franchise with maybe not-so-subtle political undertones. While the franchise takes place in a fictional universe, it makes no effort to disguise real-world problems.

The next couple of sections will be a spoiler-free review of the movie and some commentary on the franchise. The last part (if you want to skip to it) will cover some political issues The United States has been facing regarding violent incidents and rhetoric.

What is 'The Purge' franchise

The first movie in the franchise, "The Purge" takes place in the year 2022. The general premise is that a new political party was voted into office in the year 2014 and started the annual Purge.

The Purge is treated as a holiday in America designed to allow anyone with built up rage and frustrations to do anything they want for a 12-hour period without consequences. The point of this is to “help” people unleash their rage for one night rather than do it all year and commit crimes.

The focal point of the first movie is a faction of elitists trying to hunt down a homeless person during the Purge. The next couple of Movies go over how people in the one percent have used the Purge as a veil to conceal their hidden agenda of wiping out a large number of the lower class.

What to expect from 'The First Purge'

Now, "The First Purge" goes over how the Purge was created. The previous movies in this franchise have their share of jump scares, hiding from trouble in dark alleys, and creepily masked individuals out for blood (nypost.com). This new movie certainly has its share of that too, but it’s played down quite a bit.

Rather than try to scare the audience in a typical way, it does it by showing how people in power can take advantage of those without it (nbcchicago.com).

Since this is a prequel to the first movie, and essentially an origin story, "The First Purge" does a fantastic job showing how the Purge became an established event in America (and why that is such an unlikely thing) while also showing how and why a resistance group to the Purge first began.

If you like The Purge franchise, or if you just like movies that are light on horror and heavy on political commentary, I would definitely recommend you see this movie.

How 'The First Purge' reflects the society we live in

There is no doubt that the United States of America has felt like a more violent place in recent years. This could be because of increased media coverage of violent/controversial incidents, an increase in violent rhetoric from political leaders, or just a plain and simple increase in mass shootings and protests.

While the statistics show that “more people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the US in the last 18 years than the entire 20th century” (sciencedaily.com) and “one in five Americans have protested in the streets or participated in a political rally since the start of 2016” (vox.com), the question is not if there’s more violence but why there is.

Increased violent rhetoric has riled up one side of the political spectrum, and their resulting actions/rhetoric has equally riled up the opposite side. Sure, people haven’t become so violent that there is a real world event like the Purge, but this "Civility War" going on in America might have some unforeseen negative consequences. If you go watch "The First Purge," you may agree with me that rhetoric can be very influential when it comes from those in power.