The Forever Purge
by Hope Madden
Now, I’m not suggesting any of the Purge films were subtle. Creator James DeMonaco wielded a blunt political instrument from the start.
Quick recap: In the near future, a far-right government, the New Founding Fathers, establishes a single night of lawlessness to encourage Americans to purge themselves of all their hate and anger. And, you know, take their frustrations out on the homeless, the poor, and the otherwise generally oppressed.
So, a pretty easy metaphor to figure out, although most installments contained an interesting idea here, some memorable imagery there. Gerard McMurray’s 2018 The First Purge was impressively topical and prescient, and genuinely angry. In it, the filmmakers essentially looked at Trump’s America and asked: How did we get here?
In a way, all of these films have led organically to The Forever Purge, a film with a premonition of what would have happened if Trump’s America had been allowed to – or would ever again – continue on its natural course.
It’s hard to blame filmmakers for losing optimism in the face of the national shame of January 6. In this installment, entitled, angry white people have decided that one night is not enough, so they organize online and just take over the country.
DaMonaco returns as writer, while Everardo Gout directs. Gout’s sensibilities lean heavily toward action. The Forever Purge is essentially an action thriller with a social conscience (and about as much subtlety as you’ve come to expect from the franchise).
There is no forgiveness in this installment, and maybe there shouldn’t be. But The Forever Purge loses the humanity of the better episodes in the series. At its worst, it’s a political outcry by way of a predictable horror film that’s pretty light on horror. At its best, it’s a poignant upending of this country’s fundamental, foundational racism.