After four instalments, The Purge series finally questions what would happen if people decided that lawlessness for one night a year wasn’t enough. The Forever Purge attempts to be a swan song for the troubled franchise, but falls too far from the finish line to see the series capped off in a fine manner.
Written by Alex Gilston
The Forever Purge travels into unfamiliar territory as splinter groups around the United States decide that the 12 hours allocated for the purge aren’t enough, therefore they deem that it must carry on indefinitely. The film follows Adela and Jaun, migrants from Mexico, and the Tucker family as they frantically scramble towards the Mexican border as the country spirals into chaos. As stories go in this universe, The Forever Purge has a fairly simple premise that’s easy to follow. This doesn’t work in it’s favour however, as the film gets too bogged down in trying to portray an all too obvious message.
The social and political messaging of The Purge movies, subtle or otherwise, have always been their strength. But The Forever Purge insults the intelligence of its viewers with droves of stereotypical bigotry that unfortunately we see all too much in real life these days. The film becomes all the more unsettling as art imitates life, what once felt more like escapism moves closer to horrible reality.
Everardo Gout, in the directing chair, brings in some of the most deftly handled set pieces of the entire franchise, including a particularly tense moment with an animal pen. A staple of the purge films are the inventive masks, so it was exciting to see the newly designed ones that adorn the lawless citizens of America. One of the best being a furry bunny mask fit with gruesomely blood red eyes. The film shines more towards the end where it leans into western tropes with a stand off worthy of a final act. But in these moments it doesn’t feel enough like it’s a film in The Purge franchise and more like the shoot-out ending to any film you might have seen before.
The Forever Purge marks the final nail in the coffin for a franchise that had a lot of promise on paper. Through no fault of its own, what started out as an interesting study into some of the biggest societal issues is now way too close to the bone. In the current climate audiences want escapism and that is something The Purge series can no longer offer.