In 2013, The Purge arrived with an apocalyptic premise worthy of John Carpenter: The titular government initiative legalizes all crime for 12 hours once a year. Racist rednecks and cult-loving cretins take right to it, respecting the tradition for three subsequent films and a TV series. But if we’ve learned anything from the last two years, it’s that right-wing Americans are largely assholes who can’t be bothered to follow rules. So now we have the fifth film, The Forever Purge, which naturally finds proud patriots purging past the legal deadline.
In the midst of the anti-mask, anti-vax movement sweeping the nation and wiping people out, this film allows us to shake our heads and release our frustrations. “Of course conservative jerks would keep the Purge going and fuck everything up,” you’ll yell at the screen as you watch the film at home on Blu-ray, avoiding the outside dangers created by stubborn, selfish people unwilling to help maintain a stable society.
The Forever Purge revolves around a Mexican immigrant couple, Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta), who unfortunately arrive in Texas shortly before the government reinstates Purge Night. They survive the 12 hours but find Purgers still storming the streets the following day. “This is the Forever Purge,” a dumbass in a demonic bunny mask declares outside of the meat-packing plant where Adela works.
As Purgers don cowboy hats and Halloween makeup to reign chaos, you can’t help but think of the Viking-horned joker and MAGA cap-wearing Trumpers who stormed the U.S. Capitol two weeks before President Biden’s inauguration. (It’s funny how they had no problem getting dolled up for the criminal act but refused to wear masks, proudly revealing their faces on social media and security camera footage for law enforcement to find.)
Look, this film is far from a sophisticated social commentary. It has all the subtlety of a political yard sign. But it provides the same trashy catharsis as rage-following fools on Facebook and posting memes pointing out their stupidity.
As far as the action goes, this is an entertaining, if not particularly inventive, chase thriller. Its most engaging moments are the simpler ones — such as a scene in which a character wards off a biker gang swarming around her family truck by waving an “Ever After” Purge flag in the window.
The performances serve the story well. Reguera and Huerta make you root for Adela and Juan while Josh Lucas sells his character’s arc from racist to ally as a Texas ranch hand forced to help them out.
Screenwriter / Purge creator James DeMonaco and director Everardo Valerio Gout deliver solid B-movie thrills and a refreshing pro-diversity message, which Gout’s Mexican heritage makes all the more sincere.
The special features on the Blu-ray don’t offer much insight. “You see things differently during the day,” a producer says during the making-of documentary. “The daytime setting really gives you the sense that the Purge is continuing.” Well, yeah.
This entry is perfectly fine fun, but let’s hope the franchise doesn’t continue much longer.