Directed by Gerard McMurray, The First Purge is the latest entry in the popular (and pretty decent-ish) Purge horror series. This fourth instalment is a prequel to the previous three movies and details the events that led up to the creation of the Purge – a night where all crime in America is made legal for 12 hours.

As with previous Purge movies, this new film mixes horror and violence with political commentary casting light on a dark and (sadly) entirely plausible direction for the US. Not surprisingly, this film highlights some of the divisions that already exist in society, which have arguably increased under the Trump administration.

Here’s what critics have said about The First Purge:

  • Pete Hammond of Deadline, was not a fan of The First Purge, he said: “Some of the characters, such as Rotimi Paul’s psychotic neighborhood bully Skeletor, are so cartoonish it can be difficult to take any of it seriously.” He added: “Whether it is all an allegory in some ways for President Donald Trump’s MAGA — and a backlash to it — is up to the viewer to surmise.”
  • Nick Romano of IGN, was also not impressed with The First Purge. He said: “While trying to hit the basic markers that have come to define a Purge film, The First Purge comes up empty when mining real-life tragedies as the backdrop for a summer movie.”
  • Eric Kohn of IndieWire was far more impressed with The First Purge than some of his contemporaries, awarding the movie a Grade B and commenting: “This Blaxploitation take on Trump-era fears is a highlight of the franchise.” Although he did note it is “some of the dreariest escapism out there.”
  • Owen Gleiberman of Variety, said: “In The First Purge, we watch death squads act out the will of a government that wants to reduce America to a race war, and though the staging remains crude, it’s getting harder with each film to pretend that this is all just a fantasy.” He added: “A prequel to the Purge series, and the first one set in the inner city, is a threadbare exploitation film that still manages to pack a timely punch.”
  • And finally, John DeFore of The Hollywood Reporter, was not impressed by The First Purge and said: “An already lame franchise treads water.”

So, there we go – a bit of a mixed bag to say the least, but will that put you off watching this latest entry in the series?

The First Purge is in cinemas from today, July 4th – Independence Day.

For more review round-ups and reactions to recent releases, check out past editions of The Great Stampede which have focused on Ant-Man and the WaspThe Incredibles 2Ocean’s 8Jurassic World: Fallen KingdomHereditarySolo: A Star Wars StoryDeadpool 2Batman NinjaAvengers: Infinity WarRampageA Quiet PlaceIsle of DogsTomb RaiderReady Player OneLove, SimonA Wrinkle in TimeAnnihilationThe Shape of Water and Black Panther.