"The Forever Purge" really wants to be relevant, but it trips over its horror roots

"The Forever Purge" tries to make a profound statement about the state of US politics, but it keeps getting sidetracked by its horror roots. The movie's social commentary is therefore unable to be seen alongside the violence. However, the movie's title is the most honest. These franchises can go on for a long time if they are made cheaply.

"The Forever Purge" really wants to be relevant, but it trips over its horror roots

This is the fifth "Purge," dating back to 2013. It also produced a cable show and is being billed as ending the franchise. Every sequel has used the same template: a totalitarian government creating a night every year where all things, including murder, are legal.

Although it depicts a dystopian future, the basic formula allows for a zombie movie without the need to reanimate corpses. Much like "The Walking Dead," horror lies in the potential monsters people can create when there is no law to stop them.

"The Forever Purge" follows those same steps, but touches on provocative themes such as racism, white supremacy, and US immigration policy without really giving them much weight.

  • The film opens with Juan (Tenoch Urta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera "Army of the Dead) arriving in the USA from Mexico. They arrive 10 months later, both with their jobs, her working on a Texas ranch.

    Juan is treated well by Will Patton, the ranch's patriarch. This is not true for Dylan (Josh Lucas), his son who is about to have a child with Cassidy Freeman.

    But the Purge is not over. Instead of a sighing of relief in the morning, violence and murder continue. A shadowy group has organized a "Forever Purge." The masked men promise to rid the country from immigrants and simultaneously target the wealthy. This dynamic turns Dylan and Juan into highly armed brothers in arm.

    Lucas, a character who is confronted with allegations of bigotry toward Mexicans, says he's not racist and that people should respect their culture. There's more to be done than that.

    Everardo Gout directs the film from James DeMonaco's script. The politics surrounding the border, now turned upside down by the US unravelling, also become a way to introduce a cursory glance to current events, but it takes a backseat to the real issue at hand -- which is a pitched struggle for survival.

    The movie begins with an interview subject on TV predicting what lies ahead, calling the Purge a virus and warning it is "spreading, growing, and mutating." The analogy is not subtle. It also suggests that dark impulses can be difficult to control once they are unleashed.

    Like "The Hunt", another Universal title that attempted to violently social satire caused controversy (causing the studio to delay its releases), "The Forever Purge"'s" once over-lightly politics don’t merit much fuss. Instead, it plays like a cynical exploit of real-world problems.

    • Both producers deserve some credit for trying to address larger themes in an action context. The main message in each case is how delicate this filmmaking is and how disgusting these films feel.

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