The Forever Purge
Everardo Valerio Gout's The Forever Purge pushes the series to frightening new territory as the 12-hour slaughterfest becomes unofficially permanent. Writer/creator James DeMonaco finally addresses the lingering issues of this fantasy world through on-screen violence and social commentary for a country that's growing more and more divided with each day. The Forever Purge is one of the better entries in a series interested in tackling social class issues and race wars with blood and violence.
Series creator/director/writer James DeMonaco returns with director Everardo Valerio Gout for The Forever Purge, the first installment in the series to take place after an annual Purge event, highlighting just what happens when 12 hours isn’t enough for those seeking to let out their anger and aggression. The Forever Purge is a series highlight, bubbling over with violent (and of course heightened) social commentary that takes jabs at America’s political system, social classes and racial issues in typical Purge fashion, which means lots of violence and bloodshed as innocent people get caught in the crosshairs between those that wish to do harm to others and those that want to protect a country worth living in.
All seems to be quiet in a Texas town getting ready to lock things down for the annual Purge event, after an unknown hiatus withheld the event from happening altogether. Now, as things appear to be “back on track”, locals start barricading their doors and arming their alarms in hopes of an “uneventful” evening, while those that wish to participate start stocking up on ammo and sharpening their blades.
Rancher Dylan Tucker (Josh Lucas) and his pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman) have sealed the doors and sent home their hired help, while Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta) seek shelter with friends in hopes of avoiding any violence.
Everything changes when the next morning arrives and people start returning to their normal day-to-day lives, only to find that a large handful of outlaws have decided that the Purge event is going to last forever, which means laying waste to those that they deem as “un-American”, which for this Texas town, means those of Mexican decent or of any race or color that isn’t white American.
As things escalate, our characters soon learn that this is happening across the globe and that cities are being overthrown by these Purge supporters, while the military attempts to stabilize the situation.
Series creator James DeMonaco again sits this one out as director, serving as just a writer and producer, handing over the reigns to director Everardo Valerio Gout and in the hands of Gout, The Forever Purge bursts with a sense of gritty urgency as it tackles the cold politics and racial divide that is overthrowing this version of America.
And it’s sadly not a far stretch from some of the things that we are seeing happen in this country every single day, only heightened in the sense that it takes an annual day of legal murder and massacring to kickstart the fire of those that wish to push out anyone that doesn’t look or think like them.
And it’s a terrifying reality that Gout paints, starting with lingering tension and pushing things into uncomfortable territory as innocent people are turned into piles of mangled body parts simply for looking different.
The Purge series has always had the reputation of being exploitative horror cinema and it definitely is, only with its later entries finally starting to say something outside of “look what happens if we are allowed to kill for an evening”.
The first film was a high concept sci-fi/horror hybrid that posed the question, while its sequel became a full-on Punisher-style vigilante flick. The third is without a doubt the weakest and most poorly scrambled together entry, trying to recreate the magic of the second film, while also tying in more politics.
But things started getting real good when DeMonaco handed over the directing duties to others, starting with The First Purge, which is an interesting film that deserve more credit than it received, highlighting that not everyone is a nut job and that the media and the government play a critical, if not terrifying role in any society, if not kept in balance.
Finally, The Forever Purge presents us with the idea of the inmates running the asylum and boy does Gout paint a scary picture of murder and chaos without ever really glorifying it.
The earlier films were sick, but over-the-top in tone and with just how outlandish some of the crazed killers were. But now, The Forever Purge dials back the whole gimmick of it all and focuses on what it means for a country and its people if shit really hit the fan.
Here, we find a band of people forced together out of the common good, despite them not seeing eye-to-eye on everything and we watch as they encounter group after group of psychopaths thinking that they are ridding the country of the scum by killing anyone that’s not a white American.
Gout and DeMonaco do a solid job commenting on this in a way that makes for great storytelling and sad reflection on the current state of the world, with so many people leaning into fear and hate instead of love, acceptance and understanding.
America was once a country that celebrated diversity and equality, welcoming those from across the globe without discrimination and now as our media pushes the boundaries and borders, America has a giant spotlight shining on it, highlighting our problems with racism, social injustices, greed and general instability with so many people.
I never thought I’d walk out of a Purge movie feeling hopeful, but there is a silver lining at the end of the flick that leaves a glimmer of what could be and it’s a story that I absolutely want to see, both in how the film handles the end result and how America can learn from this and become better without ever getting to this point of any sort of Purge ever becoming reality.
The Forever Purge should satisfy the cravings of series loyalists looking for another blood-soaked entry that’s part social commentary and part shoot ’em up entertainment, presenting us with new creepy bad guys wearing a plethora of creative masks going up against some memorable citizens just watching out for each other. The film lacks the focus of a main character like Frank Grillo in The Purge: Anarchy, but instead relies on the ensemble to carry the film to the finish line and I honestly think that it works better because of this. It allows for better perspective and understanding and makes for a film that feels both whole and complete, but also part of a larger conversation that is likely going to continue if this one makes enough cash at the box office.
If you’ve been shrugging off The Purge movies after watching the first flick, then I urge you to check out this latest installment, because it has proven yet again that this series is evolving into something much bigger than it once was and has no problems taking risks and making an impact in an engaging, but still entertaining way.