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We were arguing about the Purge series in Slack today. Some feel like the franchise is a great idea that hasn't ever realized its full potential. Others correctly note that the Purge series is cast in the classic exploitation model: angry, unsubtle political allegory wrapped up in yummy B-movie carnage. For me, the fascination is how it's a series that gradually evolved into the truest version of itself, going from a home invasion thriller that preyed on the fears of middle-class whites, to a full-fledged, taking-it-to-the-streets, socially angry black exploitation franchise. That's a move furthered by handing the directing reins on The First Purge to Gerard McMurray (director of Burning Sands and producer of Ryan Coogler' Fruitvale Station). You can argue over this year's Oscar bait all you like; just like the '70s and the '90s, history will view exploitation films like these as the real markers of the era.
The First Purge opens on July 4th.