The Forever Purge (2021)
“The Forever Purge” stars Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, and Will Patton. Released on July 2, 2021, the film has a couple encountering a group of terrorists with a thirst for violence.
The film was directed by Everardo Valerio Gout, who also directed the 2011 film “Days of Grace” and several episodes of the National Geographic series “Mars”. It is the fifth and final installment in the “Purge” franchise. If you thought this “night of terror” scenario is finally over, you better think again. Following the events in “Election Year”, we assumed that that would be the last time we had to endure this nightmare. But because Hollywood is still obsessed with making low-budget horror films into money-making franchises, they decided to bring this dangerous event back for one last hurrah. For our sake, let’s make sure that they stay true to their word. “The Purge” is the type of franchise that improved upon itself with its sequels after the first film failed to live up to its political-related concept. Although, they are still as flawed as the law the franchise introduced. I didn’t mind the film series in general regarding its use of disturbing imagery and tension. However, based on my experience with its prequel “The First Purge”, the weakest installment in the franchise so far, in my opinion, I felt that it’s time to put this violent journey to a close before it does any more damage to itself. I wasn’t highly excited for this one, but I was curious to see how it will conclude the franchise. With that in mind, let’s see if this latest horror sequel can end the dreadful Purge on a good note.
The story is set after the events of “Election Year”, where the presidential elections resulted in the termination of the annual Purge. However, its cancellation didn’t last very long as the New Founding Fathers of America quickly regained control of the government and brought back the event. It centers on Juan (Huerta) and Adela (Reguera), two married migrants living their new lives in Texas after escaping from the Mexican drug cartel. Juan works as a farmhand on the Tucker ranch, while Adela works in a shop near Austin. After surviving the Purge, they realized that their worries are just beginning. They encountered a bunch of cold-hearted criminals who are incredibly eager to continue the Purge illegally. Along with the Tucker family, Juan and Adela must find a way to escape the violent-filled country for good. The film takes the franchise in a somewhat different direction by having the scenario occur after the Purge instead of during the annual event like the previous films. It also provided some Hispanic and Texan flavors into the mix to emphasize its representation. Despite those changes, “The Forever Purge” is what you expect from a horror film about glorifying violence: a basic shoot-em-up involving a group of characters surviving the Purge. The previous installments offered the same premise yet managed to be enjoyably disturbing. “The Forever Purge”, on the other hand, happened to be more tasteless than fun. With everything we’re dealing with in terms of people committing senseless acts of violence, especially the United States Capital attack back in January, I believe this film hit way closer to home in the most inexcusable way possible. I’m somehow surprised that it didn’t get a boycott like “The Hunt” did a couple of years ago. As a film entirely, it’s a painfully mediocre and unnecessary follow-up that once again failed to combine its political themes, including immigration, with entertainment value. Not only was the story extremely formulaic like the previous follow-ups, but it was also uninspired and sluggish regarding its unmemorable tension and mediocre characters. The cast was okay in their roles, including Reguera and Huerta as Adela and Juan, respectively, but none of the actors stood out as the best to me. The story felt less of a well-earned conclusion and more of a “been there, done that” sequel that could lead to more installments. If you’re going to end things off on a high note, you got to have something that concludes the series on a high note. I don’t think this film has got the message. Everardo Gout did what he could to match the same style that franchise creator James DeMonaco (who also wrote the film’s screenplay) developed in terms of direction. However, his effort failed to compensate for its lifeless cinematography and low-rent lighting. The way Gout handled some of the action and disturbing imagery was also a little mundane and uncreative at times. Maybe it’s just me getting used to the franchise’s violence, but the brutalities shown here went from terrifying to boring as quickly as a collapsing society. The sense of dread and disturbance represented in the franchise was immediately lost in the fire. The film relied more on delivering the violence alone rather than making a timely and entertaining substance that reflects upon it. Even the film’s jump scares couldn’t make it even more petrifying.
Overall, “The Forever Purge” represented a psychopath with a sick mind. It’s twisted and senseless for all of the wrong reasons and needs to be locked up for its crimes against the filmmaking society. It signifies that the “Purge” series is another horror franchise that still cares more about making money than making quality films. Like “Spiral”, the follow-up made a few changes to spice things up but wound up being undeniably by-the-numbers, underwhelming, and soulless regardless. With its tasteless execution, weak direction, forgettable characters, mundane scares, and low-brow filmmaking, this is another horror sequel that appears at the bottom of my sequel barrel this year. Not only that, but it also marks another poorly-timed release regarding the circumstances we’re in now. It should make for an okay watch for fans of the franchise, but it’ll also be an absolute chore for people who are already done with it entirely.
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