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Explaining The Purge Franchise for Beginners

Explaining The Purge Franchise for Beginners

Here is Everything Beginners Need to Know About the Famous Franchise

The Purge is a franchise that has dominated cinema screens for the last decade. Despite the franchise not releasing a film since 2021, it remains one of the most talked about horror franchises of the last several years. 

Overall Premise 

The Purge, first released in 2013, follows a suburban family in a dystopian America plagued by high crime rates and overcrowded prisons. The government’s solution to this is to have a twelve-hour window once a year in which all crime, including murder, is legal. It is important to note that all emergency services are suspended for this twelve-hour window. The window is from 7:00am to 7:00pm.

Each film in the franchise picks a different group of protagonists to follow, whether it be a family, a group of friends, or even a group of complete strangers. Inevitably, each group must trust and rely on one another if they want to survive the night.

Humble Beginnings

The first Purge film had a small budget in comparison to other horror films at the time. The Conjuring, also released in 2013, had a budget of 20 million dollars. However, The Purge only had a budget of 3 million dollars. 

As the franchise became more popular, more sequels were released. These included The Purge: Anarchy (2014), The Purge: Election Year (2016), The First Purge (2018), and The Forever Purge (2021). The budget for The Forever Purge was 18 million. This is a testament to how much of a fan base the franchise garnered, even though The Purge initially started as a low-budget thriller.

The Purge’s Popularity

One of the questions often asked by many is, how did The Purge become so popular in the first place? There are several reasons as to why. One of the most obvious being that the  2010’s were dominated by various dystopian films. The most successful franchise being The Hunger Games (2012-2015), followed by other franchises such as Divergent (2014-2016), and The Maze Runner (2014-2018).

In all dystopian stories, whether it be books or films, there is always an element of that this could happen today. Most of these stories have a plot that revolves around an overarching government, a protagonist, and a plan to defeat the overarching government. Many of these elements are prevalent in not only films like The Purge but culture as a whole. 

Perhaps this is most evident in Election Year, with the protagonist of the film, Charlene Roan, a senator who is running for president. Roan promises to end the annual Purge after being forced to watch her entire family be murdered on the infamous night as a child. In the film, her campaign’s slogan was “Keep America Great.”

 This is in direct reference to former president Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” Considering the film was released on July 1, 2016, it’s no surprise the movie drew inspiration from the country’s political climate at the time. Because the two slogans were so similar to one another, the film garnered attention from the press and critics due to the upcoming election.

Explaining The Purge Franchise for Beginners

Diverse Plot Lines 

The Purge franchise is also notorious for upping the ante for each film. This escalation is often shown through more violence, gore, and even different types of weapons. Each of the films also takes place in a different environment. In the franchise’s first film, the purge takes place in a tightly-knit suburb. With Anarchy, Election Year, and The First Purge, they all take place in an urban environment. And the franchise’s latest installment, The Forever Purge, takes place on a farm in rural Texas. 

Election Year, The First Purge, and The Forever Purge all have politics woven into their plots. As the film’s title would imply, The First Purge shows viewers how purge night came to be. The film focuses on the political leaders of that time and Dr. May Updale, a sociologist. Updale is the one who came up with the purge as a social experiment. She convinces numerous political leaders that this is necessary for society as a whole.

Finally, instead of showing how purge night began, The Forever Purge shows what would happen if the purge never ended. These two contrasting story lines expand the dystopian world of the purge for its viewers. The Forever Purge follows a group of civilians who have decided not to participate in the annual event. They live and work on a farm and are ambushed after they survive the night. Once the group realizes they can’t stay on the farm, they all try to cross the border to Mexico, where the purge is illegal. However, the film shows that many of the group’s members had escaped Mexico and its many drug cartels years earlier. They don’t want their past to catch up to them, but they also don’t want to be forced to participate in a never-ending purge. 

With The Forever Purge, the plot focuses heavily on migrant communities in Texas and the southern border of the United States and Mexico. This has been a notable point of contention over the last several years. However, the plot for both films is not inherently political. Instead it feels as though filmmakers were conscious of events taking place into today’s day and age. This gives the franchise as a whole a sense of realism despite its use of often over-the-top gore and horror. Because the franchise is set in a dystopian America, these elements of current events leave viewers wondering, could an event like this actually happen? 

The various environments also all provide compelling and interesting backdrops for both the film’s protagonists and antagonists. Even though the overall plot of each film is the same, the various environments help each film feel new and not like something audiences have already seen. This combined with a diverse group of characters makes each film feel very well-rounded in terms of overall storytelling.

Final Takeaways

Once filmmakers realized the franchise’s popularity, they capitalized on it. The Purge is one of the most successful horror franchises of the last decade. It takes many elements that viewers will often see in other films in the genre and gives them a dystopian twist. It also makes viewers think about how they and those closest to them might fare on purge night. Can those who are enthralled with the franchise actually survive the purge? Or would they die trying? All five movies from the franchise can be streamed across various platforms now.

Explaining The Purge Franchise for Beginners

The Purge (2013) Official Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Freelance Writer