Horror Movie Review: The Forever Purge (2021)

The Purge franchise sees no signs of slowing down even as each movie brings with it diminishing quality. We know, we’ve seen them all to date, including both seasons of the TV series. The very first film (not to be confused with the prequel The First Purge) was released in 2013 and was very successful. We liked it but we didn’t love it and you can read our review here. Hoping for bigger and better things with the 2014 sequel, The Purge: Anarchy we found ourselves wholly unsatisfied and you can read that review here.

Then came 2016’s The Purge: Election Year to follow the trend of ‘never moving the story along significantly’ resulting in a disappointing entry. You can read our review of that movie here.

2018 saw the debut of Season 1 of the TV series and while we enjoyed the lengthier character building a series gave, it was still marred in the same old Purge antics. You can read our review of that season here. That same year we also got another Purge movie sequel, this time taking us back to the beginning for The First Purge. A prequel that no-one was asking for, it stalled any forward momentum for the franchise and was an utter waste of time. You can read our review of that movie here.

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Which brings us to the last Purge content we wrote before this review and the best thing to come from the franchise to date, Season 2 of the TV series. Finally deciding to deal with the aftermath rather than the event. Season 2 dealt with a lot of the questions the franchise has thrown up to date and while it didn’t always answer them satisfyingly, it got more right than wrong. You can read our review of that season here.

Encouraged by what they did with that season, we approached The Forever Purge with some excitement. It looked like it was going to deal with one of the biggest questions of the franchise and that made it a must watch. The question being… how do thousands of Americans just go back to normal life the day after the purge? The government says stop murdering and everyone just does?

The Forever Purge promised to be a big leap forward for the franchise but sadly, it’s more a baby step to yet more films further down the line. A bad movie? No. The worst Purge movie? Not by a long shot but it should have been so much better. How many times have we said that about these films?

Directed by Everardo Gout and written by series creator James DeMonaco. It stars Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, and Will Patton.

Set 8 years after Charlene Roan’s presidential election and halting of purge night (The Purge: Election Year), the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) are back in power and have restarted the annual purge. Yes, it is as basic as that. All the work done in three previous movies undone in a few lines.

The Purge is back but many still see America as the land of opportunity. That’s why Mexican migrant couple Juan and Adela illegally cross the border into Texas. Starting a new life, with Juan working as a farmhand on the Tucker family ranch and Adela working in a meat processing plant.

They’re about to experience their first purge though, an event they ride out safely with the migrant community. Though, Adela does witness a group calling themselves the ‘Purge Purification Force’ (PPF) rounding up migrants for execution.

So, let’s get this out of the way now. The Forever Purge deals heavily with racism, nationalism and xenophobia. That in itself is not a bad thing, after all, the Purge series has always been political. Shining a light on real-world issues in their fictious world is interesting and it fits within the story. However, the way in which this film’s writing exposes and deals with it, is simply embarrassing. To call it heavy handed is to ignore the weight of the blunt object they’re smashing over your head.

You can almost see those involved turning to the camera and winking when it becomes clear that safety from the non-stop purging means sneaking into Mexico. Get it? Now who is the immigrants!? It’s this kind of low-brow political commentary that makes it such a chore to watch.

Juan and Adela end up teaming up with the survivors of the Walker Ranch, one of who (Dylan) harbours his own xenophobic views about migrants. Can you guess who is going to learn the error of his ways by the end? Again, there’s nothing wrong with that if it was subtle, clever and meaningful, but it just isn’t.

This a Purge movie and once the purging continues, we get a road-movie for our group having to deal with various groups of psychos and an all-out war in El Paso. It turns out that once you create a country of psychos, eventually they will just not stop. It’s a shame that the fall of America is mostly covered in news bulletins as the film insists upon staying with out group of Mexico bound travellers.

They’re not bad characters, most are likable and played really well. They’re not the problem with this movie, the problem is that there’s just not enough forward movement for a franchise on its fifth film and with 2 10-episode long series’. It begins by undoing everything that came before and ends in similarly uninspiring ways. The journey just isn’t worth it either as even the violence feels and looks so Hollywood and ticks all the usual Purge boxes.

So, what is good about it? As stated already – decent characters and strong acting. The film’s structure is solid and the build to the purge not ending is tense. It’s also shot really nicely and moving the location to Texas adds some freshness to things. If you’ve loved everything the franchise has done to date than chances are you’ll love this one too.

Everyone else? Maybe, like us, you’re just tired of purging.




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  • Carl Fisher

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The Forever Purge (2021)
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