Review: The Forever Purge

THE FOREVER PURGE, (aka THE PURGE 5), 2021. © Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

The fifth installment in the Purge franchise, The Forever Purge, takes the fight to the border. During the film’s title sequence different news broadcasts discuss issues like illegal immigration, racial tension in America, a rise in white supremacy due to misinformation, and how the NFFA was voted back into power allowing the New Founding Fathers to immediately reinstate The Purge.

The story follows Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta) trying to survive another bloody Purge night. After the Purge is over, a white nationalist militia decides to unlawfully continue the Purge to help “cleanse” America. Juan and Adela are forced to team up with a rancher named Dylan (Josh Lucas), his pregnant wife Cassie (Cassidy Freeman to flee America and seek asylum in Mexico.

The group tries to avoid various crowds of violent characters purging in the streets and the militia as they make their way to the border.

The Purge films have always been 2/3 horror and 1/3 political. The first movie was a commentary on rich people having the means to survive the Purge. The second film covered what it’s like for poor people on Purge night. The third movie discussed the politics behind the Purge and who benefits from the night. The fourth film showed how the government forced the Purge to happen despite. This installment covers issues that are relevant today. We have immigrants seeking asylum in America, hate groups that don’t like immigration, and a group of Americans defying the government and doing whatever they want.

The franchise’s ability to weave in real world topics through bloody horror scenes is what makes the franchise so endearing. The Purge could be mindless gore-porn like the Saw franchise but the film series tries to deliver a timely message of where America could be headed.

That’s the real fear in The Purge films. It’s the present danger that exists in America. It’s not the crazy contraptions used to kill people or costumed characters purging in the streets. It’s the suggestion that millions of Americans would find the Purge as a viable option to solve our problems. It’s a character yelling “fake news” before he shoots a reporter. It’s seeing white nationalist thinking they’re the real patriots of America. It’s the idea that Americans would kill themselves to make the wealthiest Americans even wealthier. 18 months ago those seemed like a crazy idea, not so much now.

Politics aside, The Forever Purge offers a few good kills. Most of the best action involves the group traveling through town in a police van and the late night trip through town to make it to the border. If you’re watching for some jump scares and plenty of violence, those two sequences will wet your appetite.

The Forever Purge is a continuation of one of the most underrated franchises. The story showcases how unequal economics, racism, and misinformation are a dangerous combination. This installment isn’t as scary as previous films or as creative. However, it does a great job painting a picture of how the America we know could end up looking like the dystopian America in the Purge films.

Grade: B