Horror movie fans can’t get enough of The Purge franchise, which recently dropped its fourth installment The First Purge this summer. The ongoing series of films about a 12-hour period where ALL crimes are made legal in a dystopian (and not-too-distant) future has led to The Purge TV series, which debuts on USA Network on Sept. 4. The movies have been freaking fans out for years, but how scary is The Purge TV show?
Despite its disturbing concept, the series will focus more on moral issues and drama than solely inciting fear from the audience according to an Entertainment Weekly interview with executive producer and writer James DeMonaco. But, he says this doesn't mean that the fear factor will completely disappear. After all, an annual night of anarchy has to feature something that will make people jump out of their chairs.
The Purge's official synopsis reveals that the show will still follow the basic premise set up in the films. There’s a 12-hour countdown of complete chaos in America and different people choose to handle Purge Night in their own way.
The 10-episode season will follow several new characters who seem to have no immediate connection as they either fight, hide, or go full-force into purge mode for various reasons. Each of them has to deal with issues from their past and reconcile how this night can affect their futures.
The series description also included a short trailer which shows people from different walks of life as Purge Night starts. A couple of groups ride on the back of trucks and don creepy masks while a wealthy young woman named Jenna (Hannah Anderson) who is against the Purge and heads to an upscale party on that fateful night. The trailer briefly features Jane (Amanda Warren), a financial professional who hires a Purge hit-man to help her advance in her firm.
And, there’s also Miguel (Gabriel Chavarria), a Marine who returns to town to protect his family. There are people handcuffed, gagged, and throwing axes indiscriminately to complete the menacing sneak peek. It is indeed troubling, but nothing jumps out as particularly overly scary unless the person watching is afraid of Halloween masks.
DeMonaco revealed to Digital Spy that The Purge TV show would primarily take place on Purge Night, but there would also be some flashback material to pre-Purge times. He believes the series, which takes place 10 years after the first Purge, will give him additional time to explore what these people are like on a regular day. It’s designed to be a slow burn approach in terms of overall development, which works better on a TV show as opposed to a two-hour movie. DeMonaco said:
“The real estate of the 10 hours of the TV allows us to use flashback, where we flashback out of the Purge world, into the regular lives, the non-Purge days, of this future America. We get to see who these people are when it's not Purge Night and the events that led them to where they are on the particular Purge night that we are following.
I think it's a great device. The real estate of TV lets us truly analyze why anyone would resort to violence on Purge Night. So, it's a slower burn. Whereas the movies are kind of a punch in the face — you know, these big events — I think the TV show, with the real estate of it, allows us to truly analyze why anyone would pick up a gun or a knife to solve a problem."
Based on this response, it looks like there will be a lot more character building and exploring how America got to this point in the series. There’s definitely going to be an element of violence, but that additional mix of social analysis and commentary will juxtapose some of the scare factor in the series.
But, don't think for a moment that it will get boring because of cable TV. Per USA Network, the cast chatted about the show during a Comic-Con panel and hinted at scary concepts like "The Gauntlet," which was described by Chavarria as "American Ninja Warrior of Dead." And, showrunner Tom Kelly confirmed that nothing would be toned down for TV. He promised "spills and chills" for this season, which means there is some blood and intense moments ahead. So, this series may not necessarily be for the faint of heart.
The Purge is far from a comedy show, but it is not supposed to cause nightmares either. People will have to choose if they want to participate in the show or run and hide from its frighteningly possible premise.