The fourth film in the successful The Purge franchise has found a director, but it won't be series founded James DeMonaco. Instead, The Purge 4 (which is currently only the working title) will be directed by Gerard McMurray, the maker of the Sundance festival favorite Burning Sands. It will mark the first time DeMonaco hasn't shot a Purge, and could possibly indicate a change in style and direction.
The Purge was released in 2013 and starred Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. Set in 2022, it detailed the disturbing concept of a dystopian America, where there is an annual 12-hour period during which all crime is totally legal. The original film basically followed the concept of a house invasion story. This was followed in 2014 with The Purge: Anarchy, starring Frank Grillo as a vengeful cop in a much larger location and a more action-packed feel. Grillo's character crossed over into 2016's The Purge: Election Year which greatly expanded the political and social themes, whilst still containing plenty of action. Wildly profitable the films have reportedly grossed over $319 million in the worldwide box office against a combined budget of $22 million. Earlier this year Universal Pictures also announced that there would be a fourth film sequel and they were aiming for a 2018 release date.
Now THR has reported that the film has got a confirmed director in the shape of Gerard McMurray. For his part, DeMonaco is very happy with the appointment of the new director, and said;
"I have not seen a film as confidently directed in a long time as Burning Sands and I'm excited to see Gerard's own expression of The Purge world."
McMurray drew much acclaim at this year's Sundance Film Festival for Burning Sands, a hard-hitting drama about University hazing which he also wrote. The film was nominated for the festival's grand jury prize and was scooped up by Netflix. McMurray also acted as an associate producer on the film Fruitvale Station and has a strong indie background in short films and acting.
The story of DeMonaco's script for The Purge 4 is currently unknown. As Election Year ended with a hint that the existing government of America called the NFFA (New Founding Fathers of America) would be defeated, there has been speculation that the next film would be a prequel and depict the origins of that group. Then again, DeMonaco has previously stated that he would like to explore other countries that have adopted the practice of the Purge. It's not clear if either of these ideas would figure into the announced TV series or the next film.
Whatever the plot for the sequel entails, McMurray's indie sensibilities could well be a positive factor when dealing with the political and violent elements that we've come to expect from the films. The Purge 4 is currently scheduled for a July 2018 release and we'll bring you more updates when we get them.