Director: Everado Valerio Gout
Starring: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambim and Will Patton
In eight years, there have been five entries to The Purge series, plus 2 seasons of an anthology TV series. It’s surprising, considering just how poor the first film is that it has spawned one of the most successful franchises of the last decade. There has been some highs and some very big lows, but the franchise keeps going, with a 6 film in early development. Thankfully The Forever Purge is a big high for the series, being the best film so far.
One of the biggest flaws of the franchise is its failure to deal with its own concept. For 12 hours all crime is legal, and then life continues as normal afterwards. Crime is down, employment is up, everything is perfect outside of the murdering. It never feels plausible how people react to this. It seems like a good portion of the population turn psycho for one night, how can it only be for one night? Thankfully in The Forever Purge all of this is finally tackled with a very timely plot focused on white supremacy, racism and division. It’s release is only 6 months after the Capitol was stormed in Washington, but the tension has been building for a while. That’s what screenwriter James DeMonaco has picked up on and shown in The Forever Purge, the division and extremism of some groups and how that can boil over. When you look at pictures of what happened in January, you could mistake them for several shots from The Forever Purge. The film’s themes and messages aren’t subtle, they are loud and spelt out for you. There is no need for subtly and it’s effective.
The film starts with explaining how the annual Purge has resurfaced after the events of Election Year. It spells it out plainly and quickly. We then meet Juan and Adela who are crossing the border to America to avoid the violence and bloodshed in Mexico and find a new life for themselves. Ten months pass and they have settled in, just as the purge starts. The first twenty minutes or so feel very formulaic for the series so far. We get to know the characters who will be trying to survive in that years Purge. What makes this one different is that the Purge is done and over within half an hour, at least the twelve hours is over.
This time there is a terrorist group of white supremist who want to purge forever, in order to take control of ‘their’ country back. Juan and Adela join with a group in order to survive. Mexico is opening its borders for six hours to let anyone willing to put down their guns salvage. It’s up to them to get to the border in time to make it across, avoiding the terrorist group at all costs.
The Forever Purge is a tense film. There are so many moments where you will be on the edge of your seat willing the characters to survive. It keeps this up for the entire duration and doesn’t slow down at all. As soon as the purge starts, this film is relentless in its action.
At this point the series isn’t horror, it’s more of an action thriller. There are moments of gore and horror, specifically the goat cage that Adela is caught in towards the beginning, but the majority of the film is more thrilling than chilling. And that’s not a bad thing it’s good at that.
The performances are all great. The main group are a real mixed bunch of characters, that all feel developed and interesting. The story is compelling, and it keeps a good pace to ensure that you never feel completely safe. The writing is punchy with some good one-liners and an interesting look at race relations. At this point in the series, they know what they are doing. It may start formulaic but they quickly inject it with adrenaline with a fresh look on The Purge and it doesn’t slow down.
The biggest downfall is some of the action is chaotic. A lot of the film is very dark visually, meaning it can be hard to keep on top of what’s going on when the fighting gets going. On top of that, there is a lot of choppy camera workj during the fighting and it becomes difficult to make out everything. A lot of the time you just have to just wait and see who is still standing to figure out what happened. It isn’t that bad most of the time, but when it gets hectic, especially towards the end, it is annoying.
The Forever Purge deals with a lot of heavy subjects head on and without subtlety. The series has moved more towards social commentary with each instalment and this one has it as its focal point. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat all the way through and doesn’t feel too long or drags at any point. If only the action was a little clearer, this would be a really excellent film. Regardless The Forever Purge is great and the best of the series so far.