Movie Review: ‘The Forever Purge’
Director: Everardo Gout
Cast: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, Will Patton
Plot: With the re-election of the New Founding Fathers of America the annual Purge is reinstated. This year, however, white supremacists and right wing extremists don’t intend to limit themselves to one night.
Review: The Purge is a movie that did not get off on the right foot. Isolating the story to a single household and framing the concept as a dire warning of things to come was the biggest issues. We wanted to the idea in a much wider scope, and needed a reason to think this believable. With the subsequent two sequels and prequel we saw the franchise really define itself with hordes of theatrically minded murder gangs and political commentary. Now the Purge – an annual 12 hour window where any activity is legal – reflects criticism of US policies that marginalise poorer groups and communities. As major world governments sink further into right-wing dogma and pandering to extremists the series was not lacking for new material.
Putting aside the prequel that established the Purge as a way to turn poorer communities against each other, the last thing we saw in the series was the election of anti-Purge politician Roan to the presidency. Eight years on, and the NFFA has fed into and on hatred of migrants to win back the government and reinstate the Purge. After a routine night where our various characters protect themselves from the chaos outside we get a more disturbing look at the aftermath and clean-up. It’s then our survivors learn that there’s an organised effort by white supremacist goons to continue the Purge after people have let their guard down and become vulnerable. Targeting non-white people, their rallying cry is to take back America for the ‘true patriots’. Meanwhile, Mexico and Canada open their borders to those seeking sanctuary, giving our survivors a goal.
There are clear and deliberate parallels to the January 6th attempted insurrection by Trump supporters. The same language about ‘taking back’ the country and declaring yourself a ‘true patriot’ is utilised, there are some costume details that invoke news images from that event and there’s indication that the attempted take-over was organised through social media platforms putting profit and control of information over ethics and morality. The blind righteousness of the insurrectionists also rings true, as it seems like quite a few members of the discredited QAnon conspiracy never got the memo.
Breaking down the movie into its storytelling components, you’re not going to find many memorable characters apart from Will Patton, sticking to the horror genre after his recurring role in the Halloween franchise. The overall message is that racism is bad (also murder, I guess), and the characters fit into this template. There’s an attempt to make it less of a black-and-white issue, but at the end of the day it’s about people from different cultures coming together to protect each other from maniacs dressed as rodeo clowns or whatever.
Bringing the Purge to a rural setting helps to keep things fresh, and allows the art team to cBringing the Purge to a rural setting helps to keep things fresh, and allows the art team to come up with thematic images. Confederate flags and cowboy outfits get much more play than previous years, and the steer horns worn by one Purger is a good way to evoke the dickhead wearing horns during the insurrection attempt. The inclusion of a Fury Road type sequence and a Saw trap don’t really fit in The Purge wheelhouse and mostly serve to fill out the runtime.
The Forever Purge sounds silly on paper, but there’s enough juice left in the series that this manages to keep things afloat. They might even manage to squeeze another one or two movies out of it. Or they’ll drive it into the ground. For now it remains the premiere horror series for left-wing audiences to reinforce their preconceptions about the right. Not that we need it, considering some of the dumb behaviour we’ve seen over the past year.
Rating: SIX out of TEN