‘The Purge’ series has become one of the most unexpected success stories in the modern horror genre. It blends an outrageous plot with suspenseful twists and the typical horror motifs. Even though the first film was a bit underwhelming, it did enough to establish a series that only got better with time. The whole franchise is structured upon one outlandish ‘what if?’ question. It attempts to explore the possibility of a society where every kind of crime including murder has been legalized for 12 hours. People committing crimes in this time period are entitled to walk freely and their misdeeds have no bearings or aftereffect once the said time frame is over. Sounds ridiculous, right? Wait till you hear that they have made four movies out of this and they intend to release a fifth one that is expected to conclude the purge in the right way.
Interestingly, films from ‘The Purge’ series were never critic darlings. They all had a highly conceptual plot but each of them found little success in execution. But that doesn’t mean these are outright unwatchable. They have the jump scares, the claustrophobic suspense, great twists and turns, and adrenaline rush. For the fans of the niche, each film provides bloody crime sprees with violence and anarchy. It shows in their collection as well. According to Box Office Mojo, the four movies in the series so far have collectively grossed almost $457 Millions in the world. As far as budget horror movie franchises go, that’s a pretty good haul.
Recently there has been a lot of talk about the next Purge film and the way things are shaping up, we are really excited about the Purge, one last time. But before we talk about possible plotlines of the fifth Purge movie, we need to brush up our knowledge of the previous movies as well. This way the context will be more upfront and the trajectory of these films will also help us to specify a few details about the upcoming movie.
What Happened in The Purges So Far?
The first movie in the franchise was named just as ‘The Purge’ and it released in 2013. Next two films followed the events chronologically but the fourth and the most recent one decided to come out as a prequel. So if we are to discuss the gradual development of the Purge we should start from the beginning, that is ‘The First Purge’ (2018). It is set in an alternate 21st century where a new political party, New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), has come to power by overthrowing conventions. They introduce a ridiculous concept of legalizing all crimes in Staten Island for 12 hours. No holds barred. The concept is based on the belief that if one gets a socially sanctioned way of purging all the emotions, anger and dark impulses in one crazy night, the society will have better balance the rest of the year.
The first purge is experimented on Staten Island and the government tells people that they are free to leave but offers $5000 to whoever stays. People have a hard time following the exact dark purposes of the government, so NFFA sends trained mercenaries to wreak havoc on innocent people on the island. The first one focuses on a drug lord and his cartel. We see that NFFA purposefully catalyzes the violence in order to further their hidden agenda. After a lot of gruesome deaths, the gang decides to stand against the corrupt government. They intend to fight for survival and protect the neighborhood. The film manages to lay out a foundation for the ritual of purge and even though it didn’t find much praise from the critics, it still managed to be the highest-grossing Purge film so far.
Now, let us get to ‘The Purge’ (2013). As an actual start to the franchise, it has a solid offering. We have some known faces in it. ‘The Purge’ stars Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey among others. The movie poses some interesting moral questions within a bloody surrounding. During the usual Purge hours, we have the Sandin family. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), his wife Maya (Lena Headey) and their kids Charlie and Zoey are a wealthy lot who hide in their Los Angeles home with advanced security built-in. However, the tranquility of interior changes with the invasion of a wounded man. The family rescues the man but faces a larger crowd waiting for that man to come out. Sandins have their thoughtful dilemma but decide to protect the man and themselves from the gang.
Soon, the film turns into a home invasion movie filled with blood, weapons, and suspense. As the end of the purge draws nearer, we have a broken house, dead people, blood and tense stand-offs. Apart from the prevailing theme of purgation, ‘The Purge’ also showcases the vast chasm between affluence and poverty. It also satirizes the global capitalist tendency but more than anything, it manages to show people’s morality and the lack of it in an increasingly extremist society.
The next one we should talk about is ‘The Purge: Anarchy’. It was released in 2014 but followed the events of the 6th Purge, in 2023. Among the cast, we have few known names like MCU veteran Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, John Beasley, and Lakeith Lee Stanfield. The movie collected around 111 Million dollars worldwide and was a big step up from the first one, despite a subdued critical reception. If the movie’s predecessor felt more like a home invasion movie, this one is a full-blown bloody action thriller on acid. ‘The Purge: Anarchy’ explores the neighborhoods and alleys of Los Angeles during the Purge.
We have an LAPD sergeant Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) who, fueled by anger and revenge, sets out to kill the person responsible for his son’s death. A waitress and her teenage daughter are attacked in their apartment after her father sells himself to be purged for money. We also have a young couple attacked by a group of criminals, waiting to kill them once the Purge starts. All these seemingly strangers come together to save themselves and their loved ones during the hellish hours. Apart from being a horror–survival movie, it also exposes the NFFA’s heinous plan of purging poor people for the gain of their affluent allies.
‘The Purge: Election Year’ came out in 2016 and focuses on a crucial point for this outrageous event. Following the previous purges, anti-purge voices are growing stronger and during the year of the election, the resistance must fight against the reigning New Founding Fathers of America in order to end this damned event. It starts with a young Charlie Roan witnessing the death of her family in one purge night. Flash forward a few years, and she’s now campaigning against the NFFA and purge nights. Her growing popularity and compelling activities threaten the government and they strip her of the protection that a government personnel enjoys during purge night. Our boy Leo Barnes (Frank Grillo) is now her head of security and during an ambush, they are forced to come out on the streets and survive the night as betrayals and hired mercenaries follow.
We also have another subplot involving three amigos defending their store and their arc ends on an emotional note. Following the Purge night, Roan wins the presidency with a huge margin and vows to end the tradition for good. The supporters of NFFA decide to protest in what is shaping up to be another bloody Purge.
The Purge 5 Plot: What’s it about?
The events of the fifth movie in the franchise will follow the events that transpired in ‘The Purge: Election Year’ since the fifth one’s immediate predecessor in the theatre was ‘The First Purge’. So we have Charlie Roan, the new POTUS who is a staunch anti-purge supporter. She intends to end the controversial ritual once and for all. But such huge step also warrants a bigger reaction as well. The supporters of the purge will become more extreme and the protests can and will lead to the bloodiest Purge ever. The extremism might turn the society more hostile and after the tipping point, it will be mayhem. We expect the series to end on a very high note, so the stakes will be higher than ever. The concluding film can also tie-up with the TV series that premiered its first season last year. Even though critics weren’t very kind to it, the audience loved it. Since the second season has already been announced, we expect the TV series to be more popular in the coming years.
The Purge 5 Cast: Who’s in it?
We expect Elizabeth Mitchell to reprise her role as the new President of the United States, Charlie Roan. Frank Grillo should also return as Leo Barnes, the new director of the Secret Service. Beyond this point, it can be anyone’s guess. If they intend to link the TV series, we might see a few actors from that side as well.
The Purge 5 Crew: Who is Behind it?
James DeMonaco, the director of 3 Purge movies and scriptwriter of all of them, will pen the last one as well. According to him, he has everything planned out and it will be ‘a great way to end it all’. Everardo Valerio Gout (‘Days of Grace’, ‘Luke Cage‘) will direct the movie.
The Purge 5 Release Date: When Will it Premiere?
The fifth movie in the Purge series is still without any title so far. But according to the production studios, the film will release on July 10, 2020. That gives us less than a year of waiting. The evolution of the series and its transformation from a highly conceptual horror flick on a budget to an out and out entertainer with socio-political references have made it extremely popular. We only hope the final installment in the Purge saga will be its boldest, biggest and bloodiest one yet.