Giving audiences a welcome break from all the summer blockbuster bombast, The First Purge is the fourth entry into the improbably prosperous The Purge franchise, serving up a prequel which explains how the infamous night first began.
None of the Purge films are great movies, but they basically know exactly what they are and play up to their own wanton silliness. Sad it is to report, then, that the charm feels mostly gone this time around, with the John Carpenter-inspired style and tone of the last two movies largely absent here.
If you're a hardcore fan of the franchise it might deliver enough to be moderately entertaining, but if you were hoping for anything remotely clever, fresh or inventive, it really just feels like a needless victory lap for a series that's clearly running out of juice.
This doesn't mean that the inevitable fifth movie or upcoming TV series - the latter of which is teased in a post-credits scene, by the way - will follow suit, but it's also not terribly encouraging that the franchise has much left to say or do...