Combustible Celluloid
With: Ana de la Reguera, Josh Lucas, Tenoch Huerta, Alejandro Edda, Leven Rambin, Will Patton, Cassidy Freeman, Sammi Rotibi
Written by:
Directed by: Everardo Gout
MPAA Rating: R for strong/bloody violence, and language throughout
Running Time: 103
Date: 07/02/2021

The Forever Purge (2021)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Bigotry Bang

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Like the previous four movies in this series, The Forever Purge touches somewhat upon pressing modern-day issues, but the routine, unimaginative storytelling sabotages any attempt at satire or importance.

After an uptick in racial unrest, the U.S. government reinstates "the purge," an annual 12-hour period in which all crime and violence is legal. Wealthy rancher Dylan Tucker (Josh Lucas), his pregnant wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman), his tough sister Harper (Leven Rambin), and Dylan and Harper's father Caleb (Will Patton) ride out the purge in their well-protected ranch. Their immigrant ranch hand, Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and his wife Adela (Ana de la Reguera) spend the night in a shelter.

But in the morning when the purge is over, they all discover that the purgers rage on; they are now a hate-based, white supremacist organization bent on "cleansing" America of anyone they believe doesn't belong. The Harpers and the immigrants must put aside their prejudices and work together to survive long enough to get to Mexico, where they should be safe.

The Forever Purge taps into the scary white supremacist movement and especially the simmering hatred and prejudice toward immigrants, but aside from the ironic idea of Mexico becoming a haven for escaping American "Dreamers," the movie does little to comment upon or satirize these themes. They're merely shown, although, thankfully shown in a negative light; the movie roots for the Dreamers.

Otherwise, The Forever Purge offers the usual uninspired collection of jump-scares and bloody killings, played mainly for cheap shocks and thrills, with no real consequences. Director Everardo Gout includes a few interesting, tricky, long-take shots, and he decorates the movie with eerily beautiful graffiti and composed carnage.

However, his attempts to tie in the events of the story of the ranchers with a bigger picture of the United States as a whole tend to fall flat. The only thing this movie, and the series in general, really seems to be saying is that America is an inherently violent place, with little anyone can do about it. I'd rather not believe that.

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