22nd Oct2021

‘The Forever Purge’ Blu-ray Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, Will Patton | Written by James DeMonaco | Directed by Everardo Gout

The Forever Purge, the fifth movie in the Purge franchise, gives the basic set-up a little tweak but otherwise delivers more of the same, namely angry violence mixed with on-the-nose social commentary. As such, it’s watchable enough, but the formula is definitely wearing thin, perhaps because the world itself has gotten so much worse since the series began in 2013.

This time round, the New Founding Fathers of America (back in power, eight years after The Purge: Election Year) announce that there will once again be a Purge Night, a 12 hour period where all crime is legal, up to and including murder. This is bad news for recent Mexican immigrants Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta), who already face enough racial tension in their day-to-day lives in Texas.

In the event, the 12 hour period comes and goes without incident, but the next day, a group of white supremacist Purge fanatics announce that they are embarking on a Forever Purge and the violence and mayhem will continue until America has been cleansed of anyone not deemed to be a “true” American. At the same time, embittered ranch hands use the Forever Purge to attack Juan’s boss, liberal-minded ranch owner Caleb Tucker (Will Patton), as well as his family, including son Dylan (Josh Lucas) and his pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman).

The previous Purge movies have mostly taken place in cities, so transposing the action to the open countryside of Texas makes sense on paper. However, director Everardo Gout never really capitalises on that idea, despite the promise of the poster, which makes the film look like a western crossed with Mad Max.

Politically The Forever Purge aims for an easy target, perhaps gambling that Americans would really like to watch a bunch of white supremacists get their just desserts after the last five years. It never really digs further into the issue than that though, despite a token attempt to do so by having Josh Lucas’ character be less than tolerant in the beginning and gradually learn to respect immigrants.

In fairness, the film does have a couple of good ideas, most notably the pointed irony that in order to flee to safety, the white characters have to make use of underground channels and cross the border into Mexico.

As for the thrills, The Forever Purge has pace – largely maintained by keeping the characters constantly on the move – but it lacks tension and the action set-pieces are mostly just rather dull shoot-outs. Similarly, the horror aspects are disappointingly generic throughout – there’s only one memorably nasty moment and that occurs early on.

The performances are mostly decent too. Ana de la Reguera is particularly good as Adela, who turns out to have unexpectedly good battle skills. Similarly, there’s strong support from both Freeman and Huerta, though, note to casting directors, you don’t cast Josh Lucas as someone who turns out to be quite nice in the end – he’s so much more fun when he’s playing evil, so he feels miscast here.

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Deleted Scene
  • Alternate Opening Storyboard
  • Collapsing the System: Behind The Forever Purge
  • Creeptastic Wardrobe

*** 3/5

The Forever Purge is out on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD now.

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