I went into The First Purge with moderate expectations. The previews had revealed a significant amount about the film’s premise, and I’d seen the additional three Purge movies before. I didn’t have much hope that a prequel would be uniquely terrifying, but I was expecting it—especially, given its name—to contextualize the bizarre process of “purging” that these Purge films have contrived, to explain how “the purge” came to be in a world where we’d like to assume that most people are fundamentally good and basically non-violent. That expectation was definitely met, and I thought that in achieving this goal, The First Purge made some bold statements about problems in our country and where we could be headed. I argued in an earlier piece that I saw some “problematic presumptions” embedded in the originally released purge, (simply titled The Purge). Well, this film answered my qualms in a clever, incisive way. I should also warn you at the outset that my analysis contains a lot of spoilers, so only read on if you’ve seen the film, don’t plan on seeing the film, or aren’t bothered by rather specific previews!