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Blu-ray Review: The Forever Purge

September 29, 2021

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

The tagline for The Forever Purge, the somewhat mediocre fifth film in the horror franchise that started in 2013, might as well be “the purge in daylight.”

The film’s main selling point (and the point that is brought up in the bonus features) is the opportunity to see the grisly violence and creative kills that make up the series being carried out during the day, with the annual government-sanctioned killing spree being pushed beyond the designated twelve hours overnight.

Following the pretty good 2018 prequel The First Purge, The Forever Purge is a direct sequel to the 2016 instalment The Purge: Election Year. The New Founding Fathers of America have come back into power, ushering in a renewed sense of nationalism to fuel the yearly bloodbath.

This instalment is set in a Texas border town, and focuses on Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera), a Mexican immigrant couple who made the dangerous trek across the border to escape cartel violence. Juan works as a farmhand for a wealthy white ranching family, while Adela works in a meat-packing plant, and they are about to experience their first Purge in America.

Juan and Adela survive the night locked down in a guarded facility for immigrants. But the violence doesn’t stop at sunrise, and a white nationalist group calling themselves the Purge Purification Force decides to keep the Purge going indefinitely as a way to racially purify the country, by killing everyone who isn’t an American. The ranch is attacked, forcing Juan and Adela to team up with rancher Dylan Tucker (Josh Lucas) and his pregnant wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman) to survive as the country collapses and descends into chaos around them.

The first Purge film was essentially a high concept, low budget home invasion thriller, and by now the series has settled into its niche of mixing social commentary, political satire and torture porn (a bit here involving a goat cage rivals Saw for the latter category) to mixed effect. This film takes the franchise’s premise of a night when all crime is legal and expands it to its logical conclusion of the Purge eventually exacerbating a complete social collapse in America, instead of restoring order as the New Founding Fathers initially intended.

Director Everardo Valerio Gout (series creator James DeMonaco stays on as screenwriter) does stage some decent action set-pieces in The Forever Purge, and the film has a sort of neo-Western vibe to it that does differentiate it from the others in the series. The daylight setting also allows us to really see the creepy costumes (designed by Leah Butler) that have become a staple of the franchise. There are some interesting score elements by The Newton Brothers as well, including a sequence where a side character calls out the sounds of different gunshots as if they are part of an orchestra.

All that said, there is a sense of the concept behind the series being stretched thin in The Forever Purge, and despite the new elements, there is a largely formulaic feel to most of it. While the film does deserve some props for introducing timely themes of bigotry and racism towards Mexican immigrants, the social commentary is heavy-handed, and the extreme violence becomes numbing after a certain point. More hardcore fans of the series might get what they want out of it, but The Forever Purge ultimately can’t help but feel like a somewhat needless spinoff.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray comes with a small but decent selection of bonus material. A code for a digital copy is also included in the package.

Alternate Storyboard Opening (1 minute, 40 seconds)

Deleted Scene (1 minute, 36 seconds)

Collapsing the System: Behind The Forever Purge (8 minutes, 0 seconds): A broad look behind the scenes of the film, offering a deeper look at a few of the set-pieces and the stylistic choices made by Mexican-American director Everardo Valerio Gout and his crew.

Creeptastic Wardrobe (2 minutes, 6 seconds): Costume designer Leah Butler discusses designing the costumes for the film (including those creepy butcher bunnies), and taking advantage of the daylight setting and Western-inspired themes.

Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes, 30 seconds)

The Forever Purge is a Universal Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 104 minutes and rated 14A.

Street Date: September 28th, 2021

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