The First Purge

The First Purge (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After the rise of a third political party, the New Founding Fathers of America, an experiment is conducted, no laws for 12 hours on Staten Island. No one must stay during the experiment yet there is $5,000 for anyone who does.

*Spoilers*

So this is where The Purge began, huh? As an experiment introduced by rich white folk into a low income mostly black and Latino neighbourhood where the majority of residents can’t really turn down $5k (if they agree to stay home on Purge night), even if it could cost them their lives. Brilliant.

Marisa Tomei is The Architect, a psychology professor who came up with the idea of The Purge and brought it to fruition with the help of the New Founding Fathers of America. She swans about with a smug expression and swears down that it’s a good thing for society actually. Nobody’s really convinced of that, are they?

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Nya (Lex Scott Davis) strongly disagrees and isn’t afraid to make her voice heard above the buzz on Staten Island but is it enough to change things? Is it even enough to keep her younger brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade) from wading in on Purge night? I think you can guess the answer to that.

While she holes up with half the community in the local church to ward off attackers, Isaiah vows to seek petty revenge on deranged nemesis Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) on the streets. Meanwhile, the neighbourhood Big Dog, Dmitri (Insecure‘s Y’lan Noel) struggles with Nya’s rejection of everything he stands for (drugs/violence) and also with in-gang betrayal. All this before he’s even considered what’s going on outside.

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We all know how Purge night goes so you don’t need me to explain that, let’s just say that it’s going to be a long night for all involved and if I were there, I wouldn’t be there at all, I’d have been on the first bus off the island, before the experiment had even been announced. Nope, nope, nope.

Anyway, I went into TFP with zero expectation except maybe that it would look cool and I was pleasantly surprised. One of my movie buddies saw it and really hated it, so I went in expecting the worse. Lucky for me I have a high threshold for trash and a fondness for the franchise, and that helped. Plus, I think it did look cool and had something to say about White Privilege, the manipulation of the poor and America as we know it right now.

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Although this isn’t set in modern day, it does address issues that seem incredibly relevant today and some of the imagery (the KKK/Nazis/US Po Po) is chilling AF. It’s also interesting to watch The Architect lose her cool as the Purge participants react in ways she hadn’t anticipated and also lose control of her position of power over the NFFoA – who are not to be trifled with.

Will Dmitri find a way back into Nya’s good books and do right by his community? Will Isaiah make it through the night? And this crazy arse experiment can’t possibly become a thing, can it? (Lol).

Only one way to find out.

My Rating

3.5/5.

Hereditary – Second Viewing

*Slightly spoiler-y*

I’ve already reviewed Hereditary here but I managed to catch it again last week, just before it left the theaters in Brighton.

I absolutely love it and more so on second viewing. It is such a unique experience and while it isn’t perfect (what the hell is?), it’s a brilliant achievement for Director Ari Aster and his team. 

If Toni Collette isn’t nommed in next year’s Oscars for her performance then I might have to boycott. She’s mesmerising as increasingly unhinged matriarch Annie, who’s barely holding the remainder of her family together following a series of tragic (and, we soon find out) preordained events.

My second viewing really unravelled a lot of the elements I didn’t catch the first time and further reading has helped me get my head around the folklore that entwines the entire narrative. It’s fucking terrifying too, even when you know what’s coming – but it’s frightening in a way that’s difficult to define. It’s gets under your skin and it lingers there for a long time afterward.

I need more horror just like this, please!

Hereditary

Hereditary (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.

*Spoilers*

Eep. This movie is terrifying in a way that is hard to explain. It’s one of those rare horror movies that attaches itself to your back and follows you out of the cinema. I haven’t been able to shake it and that’s one of its main strengths.

Toni Collette completely nails the role of Annie, wife of Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and the mother of Peter (Alex Wolff) and Charlie (Milly Shapiro). When her own mother dies after a drawn out illness, Annie mourns her naturally.  Trying to come to terms with their difficult relationship is hard for her but she make the effort to open up to a bereavement group nonetheless.

As a relatively successful contemporary artist, Annie specialises in minature dioramas and after the death of her mother, she uses these to work through her pain. Creating scenes from her life starring her mother, its fascinating to see these reenactments rendered in such intricate detail. 

Unfortunately, her healing is put on hold (forever) by an unexpected and devastating tragedy that will fracture the already injured family for good. And boy is it a demented ride.

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It’s safe to say that Hereditary pulls no punches when it comes to the impact of its imagery. There are shots you want to turn away from yet can’t because they’re also perfect and beautiful. Definite horror influences can be detected throughout which has led to comparisons to films like The Exorcist, which I’m not sure is strictly accurate. All I know is that it’s one of the best modern horrors I’ve seen in the last few years and is exactly why I adore the genre so much.  

I’m trying quite hard here not to give too much away since I went in with only one viewing of the trailer under my belt – and was pleasantly surprised. While the trailer is a good one it also doesn’t give anything away so when some of the reveals occur you’re left genuinely shell-shocked.

‘The’ scene (in my mind), in which Peter is involved in an unfortunate incident is pure perfection. As the realisation of what he’s done – of what he can never take back – plays across his face, you can’t help take on board the enormity of the situation. Wolff is incredibly soulful as haunted Peter, reduced by the weight of responsibility to a sniffling little boy. An actor to watch, I think.

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Shapiro is also mesmerising as Charlie, the troubled daughter – her scenes are some of the best and I would like to see much more of her too. Hereditary examines themes of loss, guilt, accountability and pure horror and I’m already planning to catch it again so I can soak in the details and catch the nuances.

It’s a kind of scary that taps into your own personal experience and burrows under the skin, and is not reliant on cheap jump scares, which is so refreshing. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any horror fan or steely willed movie fan.

It is fantastic.

My Rating

4/5.

Ps. This film gave me genuine nightmares and on the same night my husband went sleepwalking. Make of that what you will!