Blumhouse Productions is an efficient factory transforming low-budget schlock into massive box office hauls. One of their biggest successes was The Purge, which cost a mere $3 million only to pull in just under $90 million worldwide. The film spawned multiple sequels, a prequel, and a television series. You can even participate in Purge Night at Universal Studios during their Halloween Horror Nights celebration.
The brainchild of writer/director James DeMonaco, The Purge, revolves around an annual 12-hour period in America, where all crimes, including murder are legal. The first film focused on an upper middle-class family, whose patriarch makes his fortune selling Purge Night security systems, trying to survive the night against would-be intruders. The subsequent sequels expand the world and make it explicitly clear that Purge Night is just an excuse for the New Founding Fathers (the political party in power) to indiscriminately kill the poor and people of color.
The Forever Purge picks up eight years after the events of The Purge: Election Year, which saw the rise of President Charlene Roan and the abolishment of Purge Night. Unfortunately, the NFFA have regained control of the government and reinstituted the Purge.
Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera) are living in Texas after fleeing from the Mexican cartels. Adela works at a meat packing facility while Juan is a horse wrangler for wealthy rancher Caleb Tucker (Will Patton). While Caleb holds Juan and his friend T.T. (Alejandro Edda) in high regard, his son Dylan (Josh Lucas) can hardly tolerate their presence. Dylan insists he’s not racist, he just thinks everybody should stick to their own kind.
Following a surprisingly uneventful Purge Night, our protagonists are attacked by a new extremist group calling themselves the Purge Purification Force. They’ve decided that the Purge should never and have dedicated themselves with cleansing the nation of anyone who doesn’t look or think like them. After Purgers murder Caleb, Dylan is forced to join with Juan, Adela and T.T. and go on the run with his sister, Harper (Leven Rambin), and pregnant wife, Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman). The ragtag group makes their way south amidst rampant violence as Mexico and Canada have temporarily opened their borders to American refugees.
The Forever Purge finds itself eerily prescient and uncomfortably timely at the same time. Originally intended for release in 2020, it was obviously delayed by the pandemic and released to theaters six months after the Capitol riots of January 6. It’s hard not to see the parallels. The NFFA quickly lost control of the monster they created. The far-right group has spawned an army of even more brutal extremists spouting conspiracy theories and racist rhetoric as they burn down cities and target the very politicians they put in place.
While the previous films have taken place over the course of a single night, Forever Purge unfolds mostly during the following morning and afternoon. Director Everardo Gout has to find new ways of maintaining suspense in broad daylight. Gout drops the audience right into the middle of the carnage. There’s an immediacy to the way he directs the characters as they run and gun, but the third act descends into more of a generic shoot ‘em up.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer features crystal clarity lending itself well to the dusty landscape of the Texas desert and the war-torn urban environs.
The audio is presented with a Dolby Atmos track. The dialogue is crisp, but the action sequences are really well done. You hear the roar of Dylan’s big rig truck rolling down the street and even the whooshing of Juan’s lasso.
Collapsing the System: Behind the Forever Purge (8:00) is your standard behind-the-scenes featurette running down the making of the film and how the story has evolved.
Creeptastic Wardrobe (2:06) is a quick interview with costume designer Leah Butler as she discusses her work on the movie.
Rounding out the extras are an alternate opening in storyboard format, a deleted scene, and the theatrical trailer.
Film Value: 6
The Forever Purge is far too blunt with allegory to be effective as anything more than glorified exploitation cinema. It’s a decent enough entry to the franchise, but The Purge: Anarchy still remains the best of the bunch.