Has The Purge ever been a franchise that’s worth following? No seriously, are there people who think that this is a series that has merits and offers up something of value to them? I’m asking because, allegedly, The Forever Purge is meant to serve as a climax to this franchise, with everything building up to this film. According to James DeMonaco, who has written every film in the series, The Forever Purge takes everything to the next level. A finale of epic proportions that will satisfy any and all fans.
Hence, me asking earlier if there are fans of this franchise. Cause I’m not a fan and while I can say this wasn’t the worst movie in the series, it’s certainly the dullest and most lifeless Purge movie yet.
The Forever Purge
Director: Everardo Gout
Release Date: July 2, 2021 (Theatrical)
The Forever Purge begins only a few days before the annual purge occurs, a national event where all crime is legal for 12 hours. Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera) are two illegal immigrants from Mexico living in Texas about to experience the purge for the first time. They’re nervous, but the night goes by without much issue. They go to a shelter, go to sleep, wake up, and then it’s over… except it isn’t. After the nightly crime-a-thon, a group of purgers decides to keep things going indefinitely, forcing Juan and Adela to work alongside a family of ranchers to try and cross the border to Mexico to escape the United States, which has effectively become a burning hellhole. Subtlety is not this movie’s strong suit.
It should be noted that while the script for the movie was written back in 2019, the fact that the film was able to somewhat depict an America overwrought with domestic terrorism and an insurrection against the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA), the organizers of the Purge who inadvertently orchestrated their own demise, is unfortunately accurate. The country is on fire, people are looking to purge the America of anyone that is un-American, and it just reminds me that we’re kind of screwed now, aren’t we?
That doesn’t mean I’m giving credit to the movie for depicting a world that is utterly broken. All of the Purge films are dystopian futures, it just so happens that this one shifts the focus more to a reality that isn’t too far off from our own. The movie is still sloppy at showing off just how bad everyone is. The villains are over-the-top masculine cowboys, militia groups with deep southern accents, and racists who talk about the purge like it was a religious cleansing. They’re surrogates for people that have become symbols for American jingoism in the 21st century. I can get behind these depictions if they decided to lean in on just how absurd and deranged everyone is to a farcical level, but The Forever Purge just takes itself way too seriously.
There’s a scene early in the film where a neo-nazi talks about the music of guns while a deranged Barbie wannabe laughs alongside his makeshift music and that was kind of enjoyable in a manic sort of way. But then the rest of the film is just one long incoherent action scene with no time for moments like that. The camera work in said scenes is so shaky and insubstantial that it’s hard to tell who is even fighting whom and the dark lightning only makes the problem even worse. Accentuating it even further is the fact that the characters in these actions scenes are so bland and lifeless that I simply don’t care what happens to them.
Juan has no personality other than his ethnicity, and even then they don’t really do anything with it other than to show him bond with his racist boss Dylan (Josh Lucas). Adela has a secret past related to the cartel, but it never impacts the plot in any meaningful way despite being teased earlier in the film that it would be important. Dylan is the only one who goes through an arc of some kind as he starts off the film kinda racist and by the end learns to not be racist. Development!
Side characters fare even worse as some just walk out of the plot never to appear again only for other, equally forgettable characters to fill their place. Yet the film presents everyone as being a big deal when, no, they aren’t. I would say that they’re fodder to be killed, but there’s actually a shockingly low amount of main character, or even side character, deaths. I remember previous films in the franchise approaching character deaths like they were a slasher film, basically eviscerating the cast until there’s only one survivor. Here, six characters start on their journey to Mexico and by the end, only five make it there. That’s hardly a major reduction and there’s barely any drama along the way.
It’s all just so mindless and boring. You can revel in gore for the sake of gore. I’ve seen a lot of violent shlock that exists only to show off gruesome blood effects and body horror. The Forever Purge doesn’t even do that, instead, giving us dark shots of what I assume is blood and rarely showing us any interesting kills. I think one guy got hit by an exploding arrow. That was neat. And then the next guy who got hit died from a Wilhelm scream. That one second of audio brought me more entertainment than anything in the movie really did.
The Forever Purge tries to do way too many things at once. It tries to tell a political message about the state of American but has nothing worth saying. It tries to be a horror movie without any worthwhile scares. It assaults you with action scenes that you can’t even properly follow. The drama this film attempts to tell focuses on characters with no discernable personalities besides their ethnicities. It’s a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. It never satisfies on any of those levels, but man does it try to do everything!
This franchise is over now. I hope the series is also over now. After five films and a TV show that lasted for two seasons, one of the lamest horror franchises of the modern era has finally come to an end. Will I look back favorably at this series? Probably not. It’s been bad, guys. So at least I can be thankful to The Forever Purge for doing that. I can’t be much more thankful for it, but something is better than nothing, right?