The Forever Purge ends the franchise on a decent enough note and is the closest reflection of what America could look like if the citizens finally had enough. The one night a year where all crime is legal for 12 hours has become a 24-hour deathmatch. While the themes presented in The Forever Purge may strike a core now more than ever, its overuse of jumpscares grows insulting and annoying. Bidding farewell to the Purge franchise will be the easiest task for horror fans this 4th of July.
A concept where all crime is legal over a short period of time for one night a year could have explored several angles, but the Purge series has continued to squander this concept. Home invasion film turned street action-horror is the most sincere way to describe the franchise. In the fifth and supposed final entry, talks of immigration and crossing borders play a major role. Directed by Everardo Gout and written by James DeMonaco, the film stars Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Ana de la Reguera, Cassidy Freeman, and Will Patton. Set after the third entry, The Forever Purge follows Adela (Reguera) and Juan (Huerta), a married couple that has escaped a drug cartel and made their way to the states. Months later, they are working for the Tucker family on their Texas ranch. The Purge comes and goes, but the population decides 12 hours isn’t enough, so Adela, Juan, and the Tuckers must survive the day.
Providing characters to root for was something the franchise got right with its second and third entry and it continues here. However, Adela and Juan don’t get proper development that should warrant audiences caring about them. DeMonaco’s screenplay is like a culmination of political issues addressed throughout the series. Racial tension, political divide, wealthy versus poor, but now immigration is thrown into the mix. Frustrations amongst the masses have reached a limit and a nationwide crisis unfolds. Undoing what the event was intended for to begin with, as crime is probably at an all-time high during the events of this film. Jumpscares are used more than a couple of times and it’s in a formulaic manner. For instance, characters will be doing the simplest task, but the sound suddenly leaves the scene in preparation for an obnoxious sound as an object appears on the screen.
Adela and Juan’s relationship could have been used to provide some emotional weight to the narrative, and there are glimpses of this, but The Forever Purge keeps both protagonists one-dimensional at best. Not taking a subtle approach with its themes, which the series has never done in the past, makes this film hit even harder at times. During a scene, Juan questions Dylan Tucker (Lucas) about him not liking Mexicans. It isn’t an overly emotional scene, but the climate this film is being released in makes the time spent waiting for Dylan’s answer stressful.
While the script is lacking, Gout takes you on a fun, lawless ride from the second the Tucker’s are attacked. There isn’t a single dull moment, unlike the original film where it didn’t deliver the goods until its final moments. You’ll find yourself glued due to the striking similarities between this world and the direction many feel America is headed. All of the performances are fine for they had to work with, as mentioned, Juan and Adela are likable as protagonists and so are the Tuckers at times. The Forever Purge just forgets to give you enough reason to become invested in the characters making it out alive or not.
The Purge franchise is closing its doors for now, but a good performance at the box office could change that. Considering there have already been talks of a sixth installment, it’s safe to assume this goodbye won’t be lasting very long. This film offers a fun time that feels like the appropriate direction given the issues it touched on in the past. The Forever Purge takes the event, blows it up into chaos, and takes America with it, leaving an uncertain future.