Dir. Everardo Gout (2021)
After regaining electoral power, the NFFA has reinstated The Purge as racial tensions along the Mexican border rise.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
So we’ve dealt with race, class, poverty, and politics so far in The Purge franchise; what’s left to explore? Well, if you’ve been anywhere in America in the last forty years, you’re probably already aware of the huge and often racist immigration debate, where half of the people in favor of stronger borders are worried about the economic and legal system impact of undocumented immigrants and half just want to get rid of as many brown people as possible, legal or not. There’s a long history of dogwhistle terms that have been commonplace, calling these people who are just looking for a better life aliens and dredging up comparisons to the terrifying Xenomorphs who are incredibly dangerous and yet who apparently spend most of their lives in menial jobs that most Americans don’t want to do for far less than they’re willing to be paid to do them. While there is certainly debate to be had about how immigration should work and the best way to ensure that the people who make our country better have the ability to come (and stay) here legally, the increasing violent attacks on Mexican immigrants within the last few years make the subject rife for discussion in a cinematic forum. Enter: The Forever Purge.
Caleb (Will Patton, Armageddon) and his son Dylan (Josh Lucas, Sweet Home Alabama) run a horse ranch with Mexican workers, notably Juan (Tenoch Huerta, Tigers Are Not Afraid). Dylan is a racist, continually putting down his Mexican workers and refusing to let his unborn son learn Spanish in his household, while Caleb appears to be a good man and apologetic of his son’s attitude. The Mexican workers, in preparation for the “holiday,” gather in a warehouse that is locked down for the Purge, hoping to wait out the next 12 hours in peace. Once the alarm sounds to signal the end of the Purge, everyone is surprised when people start killing people anyway, celebrating the start of what they hope to be the Forever Purge, which isn’t limited to the 12 hours established by the government.
There are multiple levels to the meaning behind this film, beyond the standard recognition that hating Mexicans and immigrants is no bueno. One of the biggest lessons to learn from the past several years, and one for which I am afraid we are far from seeing the extent, is that you can’t stir up the kinds of feelings that politicians have stirred and expect to retain control of the beast that you’ve created. When 100% of your political rhetoric is about making your opponent as evil as possible, which one side of our American political structure seems intent on doing, it is impossible to keep the genie in the bottle when shit starts to go sideways. It’s one thing to say that your opponent is wrong: that’s largely the entire point of political discourse, especially in a country as polarized as ours is currently. It’s another thing entirely to call your opponents baby-raping, demon-worshipping, blood drinking Satanists intent on eating your children and letting Mexicans steal your job. The incredibly stupid people who are going to believe you aren’t going to take your allegations sitting down, and they are going to become more and more violent, especially when you encourage them to be so. Once that happens, no amount of telling people to “calm down” is going to suffice.
Look, to be completely honest, it’s difficult to talk about these films without picking a side, and despite appearances, I have done my best to be as balanced as possible. It’s a difficult time when we can’t even agree that the crazy people are crazy, because it ruins any legitimate change that we can hope to create within ourselves and within our country. Part of the biggest problem inherent in our current level of discourse is that we are being taught that everyone’s opinion is valid, even when some people’s opinions are really fucking stupid. The Horror Revolution would like to go on record and give 100% of our endorsement to the facts that there are no Jewish space lasers starting wildfires, Democrats aren’t trying to drink the blood of children during Satanic rituals, and COVID is a real fucking disease that really killed hundreds of thousands of Americans. Going forward, regardless of your political affiliation, we desperately need to be able to agree on these facts, and if you want to come forward with “alternative facts” that say otherwise, you’re a great big fucking moron.
These insinuations by our political leaders makes the events of these film feel far more possible than they might have a decade ago, or even when The Purge was released. Rhetoric always has the potential to be dangerous, but the specific anti-immigration rhetoric, combined with the notion of actually having a lawless period where people are allowed to do whatever they want, makes The Forever Purge feel much more possible than the previous films. Would a massive (and massively racist) outpouring of violence on a societal scale against those who aren’t specifically white be something that we could see as a possibility? Are we already having mini-versions of this movie playing out in various places around the country? Is it impossible to believe that border cities like El Paso would become lawless wastelands where people were willing to fight their own government for the chance to kill some “brownies?” I guess, ultimately, that’s up to you to decide, but The Forever Purge gives a pretty good depiction of what would happen if that day ever comes. And it is absolutely terrifying.
The Forever Purge is the best Purge film since the original, telling a story that quite frankly needs to be told. The acting is fantastic, and while the story is a big predictable, the violence is much better than in some of the previous films. The plot feels relevant andomehow fresh after four previous movies, bringing the film back after the horrendous showing in The First Purge. I enjoyed this one even more than Anarchy, which up to now had been the second-best Purge movie. If you liked the first one and identify even on the basest level with the politics, I have a feeling you’ll like this one too.
Who this movie is for: Purge fans, Political horror lovers,
Bottom line: The Forever Purge is a really good film and unfortunately more relevant than ever, with the current world feeling that the plot of the film will inevitably come to pass at some point. It’s legitimately scary at times and has some nice surprises for fans of the series. It feels more real than perhaps any of the previous films, and it opens the door to a longer franchise that still has some great paths forward to making watchable movies. Highly recommended if you want to take on the series, because there’s some good shit here.