Published on July 2nd, 2021 | by Dan Nicholls


The Forever Purge

While we’ve lost track of what number this is in the Purge series of shows and movies, The Forever Purge does manage to distinguish itself.

Horror and satire have mingled together since the genre was first birthed onto the silver screen. No matter how many mirrors are held up to society splattered with gruesome blood and gore things don’t really change, though, do they? The movies have messages but no one really listens. Because no one really listens to anything or anyone. For all its flaws the Purge franchise has sort of understood this from the start. Things in our actual real world are actually pretty fucked up and every time we confront our horrible reality amnesia kicks in and we’re back to blissful selective ignorance until the next time something happens. So if The Forever Purge is indeed the last chapter in this low-budget-for-mega-returns franchise then it manages to fire off a parting shot that actually isn’t far off the mark.

Each of these Purge movies are marketed with ghoulish masks covering the faces of crazed killers so this flick can easily stand out as the “cowboy Purge” one. The morning after the yearly Purge has completed a family of Privileged Whites are accosted by a group of violent maniacs who have chosen to ignore the ending bell. These “Ever After Purgers” as they call themselves (why isn’t the movie called The Ever After Purge then?) have decided to take the USA back from the rich and slaughter those in their way. It’s looking grim for the estate owners on their knees with their hands in the air, but luckily their hired Mexican ranch hands are far more resourceful and formidable than they are.

After all the bacon has been saved our American family (led by Josh Lucas) and the Mexican family (led by Ana de la Reguera, who should be in more action movies by the way) team up to make their way across the border. It’s a heavy-handed dose of poetic justice for the ignorant but well-intentioned Americans and really never a message not worth repeating. What follows is standard Purge stuff – lunatics, maniacs, and blood thirsty psychopaths abound on the group’s path to freedom.

Though it’s swinging broadly and repeating itself again, this latest Purge has a different energy about it. It feels a bit more thoughtful and the characters are drawn more memorably than the throwaways in previous installments. Aside from the distinctive cowboy edge the visuals aren’t anything to write home about and the action sequences are rather standard-issue so perhaps it’s safe to say the gas has finally run out. It might be a slightly higher-than-average series note to go out on but it’s still time to take the Purge to the pasture.

Over the July 1st/July 4th holidays there will probably be a lot more North Americans questioning what their nationality means to them. In such conflicted times The Forever Purge is a solidly entertaining popcorn thriller to give your mind a rest for an hour and forty-five minutes, sure. But it’s also a reminder than the struggle for reconciliation with our past violent ways is something that has a helluva long journey ahead of it.

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is a Vancouver-based, lifelong movie geek who's been a projectionist, critic, director, (accidental) actor, and writer in the industry since E.T. phoned home. @dannicholls

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