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Parents' Guide to

The First Purge

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Terrible prequel more about violence than social commentary.

Movie R 2018 97 minutes
The First Purge Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 21 parent reviews

age 14+

Cheap prequel has some sex, bloody violence, cursing and drug themes

The First Purge is a prequel film about, well, the first Purge. It’s violent, it has sex, drugs and language. VIOLENCE: Frequent and intense scenes of shootings towards the end resulting in large sprays and splatters throughout, stabbings appear throughout with some closeups and some from medium distance with blood spray and splatter as well, at a certain point a “purger” is repeatedly stabbed in the neck brutally. Several scenes of necks being broken, the film sets a record for the amount of throats being slit with bloody detail and multiple scenes of hand to hand combat also appear. On security footage we see more disturbing violence with innocent people being executed and tortured. A man is strung up by his legs while being violently beaten with bats, a man is tied to the back of a motorcycle as it is driving, other people are shot dead and beaten with blunt objects. Explosions and disturbing behavior from a demented man. Although not the most severe violence in the purge franchise, it comes close. LANGUAGE: Constant (pretty pervasive) use of “f*ck” and “n*gga” along with “sh*t”, “p*ssy” and other language. SEXUAL CONTENT: 3 scenes of direct sexual nature. A man is given oral sex very briefly. The woman is shown moving down the screen before it cuts away and the woman is shown getting up. Mild, non-graphic and mostly implied. A woman has her legs spread and her crotch grabbed by a demented man before he is sprayed with mace and is stopped. A man and a woman are shown having sex against a car. They are both completely naked with the mans bare buttocks completely visible and the woman’s breast and vagina cleverly hidden. They are shown having sex from the side and then from the back as the man thrusts between the woman’s legs. The scene lasts around 8 seconds and is shown from medium distance. DRUG CONTENT: A man is a drug dealer, packaged cocaine is shown along with bags of cocaine. Cocaine is sniffed multiple times. OVERALL: 14+

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 13+

Violent but good.

Around 55 minutes into the movie there's a couple having sex. Other than that it's just a lot of violence! Good movie.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (21 ):
Kids say (23 ):

The fourth movie in this popular series is perhaps the worst, with amateurish filmmaking and too many movie clichés combining to betray its attempts at serious social commentary and satire. Like the other movies in the series -- The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy, and The Purge Election Year -- this one tries, and fails, to place its idea within a larger national context. The First Purge begins with awkward, thinly written political speeches and news coverage of the event, all of which serve to cheapen it. (It's especially painful to watch Oscar-winner Tomei struggle through her awful dialogue.)

The main characters are likable enough, if you can forget for a moment that Dmitri is a powerful drug lord who's willing to kill anyone who gets in his way. (The movie shows no awareness of the contradictory nature of this situation.) The most relevant moments are the commentary on unpunished white-on-black violence and sexual assault, as well as frightening references to the KKK, but these things are simple asides, floating above an ocean of mediocrity and exploitative violence. They have no more relevance to the story at hand than does the "psychology" of the purge itself, especially compared to far more sophisticated and effective recent films (Get Out being the most notable example). We can only hope that The First Purge will also be the last.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 4, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: October 2, 2018
  • Cast: Marisa Tomei , Lex Scott Davis , Y'lan Noel
  • Director: Gerard McMurray
  • Inclusion Information: Black directors, Female actors, Black actors, Latino actors
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong disturbing violence throughout, pervasive language, some sexuality and drug use
  • Last updated: March 31, 2022

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