Looking at the reviews, critics did not like The Forever Purge. Empire writer Ian Freer commented: “The fifth Purge outing goes for broke and comes out wanting, working neither as political commentary nor horror-action-thriller. In this case, bigger is definitely not better.”
Even Rotten Tomatoes aggregates a sub-par rating of 50%, making The Forever Purge the second weakest film in the franchise behind the original; The Purge (2018). I guess 50% isn’t a bad overall score. However, when you compare it to other Blumhouse titles like Split (2016) which scored 77%, or Us (2019) which rated a whopping 93%, it begs the question: could this film have done better?
Having invested a lot of time watching the first 4 films, naturally, I wanted to see this one. Since The Purge: Election Year wrapped up the series quite nicely, I was curious to see what gimmick they would add to this one. In terms of expectation, I was indifferent. I walked into the cinema with an open mind.
The Forever Purge follows two sets of protagonists from different social classes whose stories intertwine. The story is built upon classic binary opposition; rich versus poor. Juan (Tenoch Huera) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera) emigrate to America seeking the American dream, meanwhile, rich ranch owners– The Tuckers– live that dream.
After a very calm purge night, the chaos continues as right-wing renegades refuse to stop the purge. The irony is that both the Tucker family and Juan and Adela are targeted; the Tuckers because they are rich, Juan and Adela because they are Mexican. Both groups club together to fight for survival and the rest writes itself.
After watching The Forever Purge, I take issue with Empire’s review. Yes, the premise is tired. During The Purge the notion of crime without coincidence for 12 hours straight is terrifying, but this initial stupefaction wears thin, but the creators are aware of this. These films evolve, offering even more social commentaries. The Forever Purge taps into questions very prominent to this day and age: is the American dream dead? Can someone better themselves or will the elite remain on their pedestal?
In this universe, America is the country that has re-elected a bunch of elites who think it is acceptable to rape and murder other humans because “the purge is American!” This film parallels reality in many aspects. The purge continuing after its allotted time mirrors the recent attack on the capitol building. The film offers insight into American politics and the controversy surrounding Trump’s wall which in turn amplified the hate toward immigrants.
At times the film bends toward stereotypes, but the film’s character development works because of them. Juan and Adela want to live out the American dream despite the purge being a part of what it means to be American. Dylan (Josh Lucas), son of the Tucker patriarch, is not a fan of immigrants but must work with them to keep himself and his family safe. Despite the character’s basic ideals and values, we do get a feel for their individuality. Dylan is stubborn. Juan misses home. Adela is strong.
By no means is this storyline complex, but the simple components make it an easy watch that provokes thought.
Overall, I would give this film a 3.5 outta 5!