The idea of the Purge, the annual night of legal violence that forms the spine of the scarily successful franchise from Blumhouse Productions, has surprising origins: a road-rage incident involving The Purge creator James DeMonaco’s usually more mild-mannered wife. How did a small reaction (and some time the filmmaker spent in Paris) lead to a horror phenomenon? DeMonaco and producer Jason Blum recently spoke to Rotten Tomatoes for an exclusive deep dive on the history of the Purge films, from that inciting incident right through to the series’ new – and rumored to be last – movie, The Forever Purge, which opens in theaters Friday. How have the films managed to so closely mirror real-life events? (Remember 2016’s terrifyingly prescient The Purge: Election Year?) Why do the filmmakers ultimately see these dark cautionary tales as stories of hope? Tune in to find out.

The Forever Purge is in theaters now. 


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Thumbnail image: Daniel McFadden, © Universal Pictures

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How to Watch Purge Movies In Order

The Purge has emerged from its high-concept original film (What if for one annual night all crime was legal?) into a lightly sprawling franchise, mixing horror, action, and politics all in one. If you want to watch the Purge franchise in order to see its events unfold chronologically, start with the conveniently titled First Purge, which was actually the fourth movie released overall.

To become a true Purge completionist, the next movie to watch isn’t actually a movie at all: It’s actually the TV series that ran for two seasons starting in 2018. The second season, considered the best thing to come out of the franchise by diehards, ends with an explicit tie-in to the original Purge movie, starring Ethan Hawke. From there, you can watch the rest of the franchise chronologically as they released in theaters, with Anarchy, Election Year, and now the latest, Forever Purge.

Watch all 5 Purge movies in order with the list below!

#5

The First Purge (2018)
56%

#5
Adjusted Score: 65180%
Critics Consensus: The First Purge should satisfy fans of the franchise and filmgoers in the mood for violent vicarious thrills, even if its subtextual reach exceeds its grasp.
Synopsis: To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America... [More]
Directed By: Gerard McMurray

#4

The Purge (2013)
39%

#4
Adjusted Score: 44985%
Critics Consensus: Half social allegory, half home-invasion thriller, The Purge attempts to make an intelligent point, but ultimately devolves into numbing violence and tired clichés.
Synopsis: In an America ravaged by crime and overcrowded prisons, the government sanctions an annual 12-hour period during which all criminal... [More]
Directed By: James DeMonaco

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 62720%
Critics Consensus: Gritty, grisly, and uncommonly ambitious, The Purge: Anarchy represents a slight improvement over its predecessor, but it's still never as smart or resonant as it tries to be.
Synopsis: One night per year, the government sanctions a 12-hour period in which citizens can commit any crime they wish --... [More]
Directed By: James DeMonaco

#2
#2
Adjusted Score: 64834%
Critics Consensus: It isn't particularly subtle, but The Purge: Election Year's blend of potent jolts and timely themes still add up to a nastily effective diversion.
Synopsis: As a young woman, Sen. Charlie Roan survived the annual night of lawlessness that took the lives of her family... [More]
Directed By: James DeMonaco

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 58007%
Critics Consensus: The Forever Purge fails to fully engage with its most frighteningly timely themes, but the franchise remains largely -- albeit bluntly -- effective.
Synopsis: Adela (Ana de la Reguera, Cowboys & Aliens) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta, Days of Grace) live in Texas,... [More]
Directed By: Everardo Gout

UPDATE: Later in September, Pop announced it cancelled the season.

About season 2: 
Notorious serial killer Mick Taylor returns to wreak more havoc in the Australian outback – this time with a busload of tourists. Season 2 of Wolf Creek is a six-part limited series.

About the series: 
Based on the horror film franchise that started with 2005’s Wolf Creek, the Pop series stars John Jarratt reprising his film role as the killer. The series is executive produced by the film franchise’s creator and director Greg McLean (The Belko Experiment, Jungle).

Tomatometer: Season 1 is Fresh at 83% with six reviews.

UPDATE:

Wolf Creek season 2 premieres in a three-night television event, starting Sunday, Oct. 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Pop.

 

About the series: 
Based on the hit movie franchise from Blumhouse Productions, The Purge revolves around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Set in an altered America ruled by a totalitarian political party, the series follows several seemingly unrelated characters living in a small city. As the clock winds down, each character is forced to reckon with their past as they discover how far they will go to survive the night. The 10-episode event series is written and executive produced by the film franchise creator James DeMonaco and led by Jason Blum.

The Purge premiere will be simulcast on USA Network and SYFY on Tuesday, September 4 at 10/9C.


Step aside Voorhees, we got another Jason killing it at the movies. After just a few years, starting with Paranormal Activity, producer Jason Blum and his Blumhouse Productions have changed the horror landscape with its brand of so-called ‘low budget, high concept’ releases, carving out a spectacular niche in a market that has seen the alleged demise of mid-budget movies and utter reliance on superhero flicks and blockbusters. Continuing this month’s focus on all things spooky, our gallery looks at 24 best and worst Blumhouse horror movies by Tomatometer (and don’t forget to read our Five Favorite Horror Films with the guy himself).

This week on home video, we’ve got a well-received sci-fi action tale and the first half of the final season of a beloved TV drama, as well as a decent thriller, an okay sci-fi kids’ movie, and a subpar sex comedy. Then, of course, we’ve got a number of indie films, and two more from the Criterion Collection. Read on for details:



Snowpiercer

94%

Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Mother) was the last of three celebrated South Korean directors to make his English-language debut this year (the other two were Kim Jee-woon and Park Chan-wook, who also serves as producer here), but he most certainly was not the least. Set entirely aboard a train that perpetually circumnavigates a frozen, post-apocalyptic Earth, Snowpiercer stars Chris Evans as the would-be leader of a rebellion of lower-class passengers who attempt to battle their way to the engine. Critics found the film a welcome surprise during the blockbuster-heavy summer; thanks to its boldly stylized mayhem, off kilter narrative, and twisty satirical edge, Snowpiercer was Certified Fresh at 95 percent. The Blu-ray release comes with an extra disc full of bonus features, including an almost hourlong doc on the adaptation of its source material, more general featurettes on the making of the film and its characters, an animated prologue, and more.



Mad Men: The Final Season – Part 1

After six seasons, the hit drama that put AMC on the map is finally coming to a close, and appropriately enough for Mad Men, audiences will have to sit in suspense until next year to see the second half of the final season. In the meantime, you can pick up Part 1 of season seven, which aired earlier this year, on DVD or Blu-ray — assuming you don’t have all the episodes saved on your DVR. So far, the first seven episodes have garnered a Certified Fresh 87 percent on the Tomatometer from critics, who found comfort in the show’s subtle, steady pacing and superb writing and performances. The Blu-ray includes bonuses like commentary tracks, two featurettes on the era’s gay rights progress, cast interviews, and more. Hopefully, that’ll hold you over until the series comes back for its final hurrah.



The Purge: Anarchy

57%

It’s recently been announced that a third installment of The Purge will find its way to theaters next year, so it’s moving full steam ahead into franchise mode. Though the first film didn’t fare particularly well with critics, The Purge: Anarchy scored decent reviews, and all without the star power of Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. This time around, young couple Liz (Kiele Sanchez) and Shane (Zach Gilford) are on their way to Shane’s sister’s house to barricade themselves inside during the annual Purge, but their car dies en route. As they flee a murderous gang, they meet up with a few strangers and attempt to survive the night. Critics were split on Anarchy, but most conceded it was an improvement over its predecessor, even if its ambitions far outweighed its impact, and rewarded its efforts with a 57 percent Tomatometer. The home release only carries one behind-the-scenes featurette.



Earth to Echo

50%

Mix E.T. with *batteries not included and Super 8, and you might end up with something like Earth to Echo. In Dave Green’s debut feature, a cast of mostly unknown young actors play a group of friends who discover a small, robotic, owl-shaped alien in their neighborhood after receiving a number of unidentified signals on their phones. Naturally, the gang bands together to help “Echo” to return home. Though many critics rolled their eyes at the multiple allusions to E.T. (even the poster mimics the pointing finger in the earlier film), some thought Earth to Echo served as a pleasant enough diversion for the kids, and the result was a 48 percent Tomatometer score. A handful of special features on the Blu-ray release cover various aspects of the creation of the film.



Sex Tape

16%

In light of the recent hacked celebrity photo leaks, Sex Tape might seem particularly timely (or mistimed, rather); unfortunately, most critics simply weren’t impressed by much of it. Likable stars Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz play married couple Jay and Annie who, in a desperate bid to rekindle their sex lives, decide to film themselves attempting multiple sexual positions. When they inadvertently distribute the video to all their friends, they set out on a crazy overnight adventure to try and minimize the fallout. Unfortunately, most critics agreed that Sex Tape had neither enough bite as a raunchy sex comedy nor enough heart to work as a rom-com, rendering a half-baked mix of both. At 18 percent, it probably isn’t one of the better R-rated comedies to come out of Hollywood in recent years. Bonus features include, of course, a gag reel, deleted an extended scenes, and a line-o-rama — standard stuff for a comedy these days — as well as an interview with a real psychotherapist who offers her observations on modern sex.

Also available this week:

  • A Letter to Momo (77 percent), an animated film coming-of-age film from Japan about a girl learning to cope with her father’s death with the help of three mischievous spirits.
  • German comedy A Coffee in Berlin (72 percent), about a twentysomething slacker who attempts to right his life after a series of misfortunes.
  • The Fluffy Movie (54 percent), a comedy concert film starring Gabriel Iglesias.
  • Life After Beth (46 percent), starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan in a comedy about a young man whose girlfriend dies and slowly transforms into a zombie.
  • The Scribbler (33 percent), starring Katie Cassidy in a graphic novel-based thriller about an institutionalized woman with multiple personalities who is subjected to an experimental new treatment.
  • And lastly, two rereleases from the Criterion Collection: Federico Fellini’s 1960 classic La Dolce Vita (96 percent) is available in a new DVD and Blu-ray; and Orson Welles’s clever documentary F for Fake (88 percent).

This week on streaming video, we’ve got a sequel to a popular thriller, a feelgood sports drama, a Certified Fresh sci-fi movie, a not so Fresh sci-fi movie, and the Sharknado sequel. In addition, Netflix has also added a couple of Woody Allen films, a beloved sci-fi spoof, an iconic romance from the 1980s, and more. Read on for details:


The Congress
73%

Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel star in this half-animated, half-live-action, all Certified Fresh fantasy about the movie business.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Million Dollar Arm
64%

Jon Hamm stars as J.B. Bernstein, a sports agent whose clientele is short on major league stars. So he travels to India and holds a contest to find two strong-armed cricket bowlers who have the stuff to become big league pitchers.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


The Purge: Anarchy
57%

Like its predecessor, The Purge takes place during a 12-hour stretch during which all laws are suspended and criminals run wild; this time, a grizzled cop (Frank Grillo) defends several law-abiding citizens while seeking to avenge the death of his son.

Available now on: iTunes, Vudu


Sharknado 2: The Second One
61%

Yep, they made a sequel to Sharknado. Nope, it’s not quite as good.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Earth to Echo
50%

A group of kids discover a small, adorable, owl-like robot from another planet; together, our heroes embark on a coming-of-age journey to return Echo to his home planet and save their hometown in the process.

Available now on: Amazon, iTunes, Vudu


Galaxy Quest
90%

Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver star in this loving homage to classic sci-fi films; when they’re mistaken by aliens for real heroes, the cast of a popular space TV show is forced to contend with a cosmic threat.

Available now on: Netflix


Bananas
83%

In this early comedy from Woody Allen, a neurotic New Yorker inadvertently becomes the leader of a South American country, and hilarity ensues.

Available now on: Netflix


Big Ass Spider!
78%

This throwback to creature features of old is the story of two guys trying to stop a huge arachnid from destroying Los Angeles.

Available now on: Netflix


Alice
72%

Mia Farrow, Joe Mantegna, William Hurt, June Squibb, and a whole bunch of other notable thespians team up for this magical realist dramedy from Woody Allen.

Available now on: Netflix


Dirty Dancing
69%

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey star in this dance-tastic drama that ushered several mini-generations of teen girls into adulthood.

Available now on: Netflix


Documented
75%

This documentary chronicles the tale of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who admitted to being an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times Magazine essay in 2011.

Available now on: Netflix


14 Blades
69%

Donnie Yen stars in this period martial arts film about an assassin who goes on the run after being betrayed by his men.

Available now on: Netflix


Carrie
50%

Chloe Grace Moretz stars as the title character, a teenage outcast with a demanding mom and telekinetic powers. Will the snobby kids at Carrie’s school learn not to mess with her?

Available now on: Netflix


The Originals: Season One

Joseph Morgan, Daniel Gilles, and Claire Holt star in this Vampire Diaries spinoff, about New Orleans’ original vampire family.

Available now on: Netflix

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Ep. 032 – Alan Tudyk, John Karna
Team Tomato talks about this week’s new movies, including The Purge: Anarchy, Planes: Fire & Rescue, and Sex Tape. Then, as the team discusses this week’s new TV premiers, Grae can’t believe the premise of one of shows. Finally, the show wraps with an extended interview with Alan Tudyk and John Karna, stars of the new movie Premature.

Grae Drake interviews Zach Gilford and Frank Grillo of The Purge: Anarchy on a very unusual set. Gilford talks about being on set with your onscreen wife, and Grillo divulges a little-known secret.


This week at the movies, we’ve got winged heroes (Planes: Fire And Rescue, with voice performances by Dane Cook and Ed Harris), criminal-minded citizens (The Purge: Anarchy, starring Frank Grillo and Michael K. Williams), and a mortified married couple (Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel). What do the critics have to say?



Planes: Fire And Rescue

44%

Some animated features offer enough magic and wonder to entertain the whole family, while others might keep the kiddies occupied but won’t do much for their parents. The critics say Planes: Fire And Rescue is an example of the latter; the visuals are striking, but the characters are bland and the action is predictable. This time out, Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) has left racing behind to join Blade Ranger (Ed Harris) and his squad of fire and rescue planes, who must contain an out-of-control forest blaze. The pundits say Planes: Fire & Rescue is sure to delight vehicle-obsessed children, but their parents or guardians are likely to find it thin and inoffensive at best.



The Purge: Anarchy

57%

If you’re in the mood for disreputable B-movie thrills ‘n’ chills, critics say you could do worse than The Purge: Anarchy, a ludicrously-plotted, blood-drenched sci-fi action flick whose pulpy pleasures are unfortunately undermined by its overreaching message. Like its predecessor, The Purge takes place during a 12-hour stretch during which all laws are suspended and criminals run wild; this time, a grizzled cop (Frank Grillo) defends several law-abiding citizens while seeking to avenge the death of his son. The pundits say The Purge: Anarchy is gritty and tense, but its predictable narrative and allegorical pretensions dull its occasionally sharp edge. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of horror sequels.)



Sex Tape

16%

Sex Tape promises a playful blend of heart and raunch, and it stars two dependable comic talents in Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. Unfortunately, critics say the movie has a few good moments but never generates the kind of manic energy that this kind of farce requires. Diaz and Segel star as a married couple looking to add a dash of spice to their stagnant relationship. However, when they accidentally distribute a video of their private activities, our heroes go to absurd lengths to destroy the evidence. The pundits say Sex Tape too often strains for laughs while keeping its naughty premise from achieving full boil. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we count down Diaz’s best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • Fanny, a drama about a woman who marries a rich man before the father of her child realizes he loves her, is at 71 percent.
  • Alive Inside, a documentary about how music helps to engage people with debilitating memory loss, is at 70 percent.
  • A Five Star Life, a drama about a luxury hotel critic dealing with a shakeup in her support system, is at 60 percent.
  • Michel Gondry‘s Mood Indigo, starring Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris in a romantic fantasy about a man who tries to save a woman with an unusual medical condition, is at 56 percent.
  • Aftermath, starring Edward Furlong in a sci-fi thriller about a group of strangers hiding in a basement in order to survive nuclear radiation and zombie hoards, is at 56 percent.
  • I Origins, starring Michael Pitt and Brit Marling in a sci-fi drama about a researcher whose study of the human eye leads to a dramatic discovery, is at 50 percent.
  • Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here, co-starring Kate Hudson in a comedy about a thirtysomething dad in the midst of reevaluating his life, is at 29 percent.
  • Video Games: The Movie, a documentary about the pioneers of the medium, is at 25 percent.
  • Persecuted, starring James Remar and Bruce Davison in a thriller about an evangelist who runs afoul of a corrupt senator, is at zero percent.

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