The third film in the Purge franchise ended with a ray of hope for the citizens of that dystopian alternate-American society which is definitely nothing like ours: Newly elected President Charlie Roan has promised to end the Purge. Needless to say, with the trilogy complete, it’s prequel time—after all, bodies have to hit the floor somehow.
In this trailer for upcoming The First Purge, the series goes back in time to the development of the annual all-crime-is-legal bacchanal of sadism. As you can see below, the trailer implies that the tradition was very much the product of a “be careful what you wish for” scenario, as the two-minute preview for the movie can’t end without the apparent architect of the Purge (the always excellent Marisa Tomei) uttering a horrified, “What have I done?”
This new installment looks to explore the ways in which a controlled demolition can become a chain reaction of disaster—metaphorically speaking, of course. From the parties people initially throw during the first 12-hour Purge event to the soldiers sent in disguised as citizens to send the body count soaring, it’s an examination of privilege, power, and—of course—lots of brutal action punctuated by moments of horror. It’s a Purge movie, in other words. Much like the third movie, it also turns a critical eye on how poor minority communities are used as sacrificial lambs for propagandistic government overreach, with a cast largely composed of actors of color and some obvious comparisons to real-world police brutality.
And given that it’s written by James DeMonaco, the same writer-director as the first three increasingly entertaining films (well, the second one is actually the best), we’re optimistic that this is another satisfying entry in the bleak, vaguely satirical franchise. New director Gerard McMurray’s sole other feature-film credit, the well-received fraternity hazing film Burning Sands, seems like a good proving ground for this material. We’ll know when The First Purge erupts in theaters on—when else?—the Fourth of July.