The Forever Purge (CREDIT: Universal Pictures/YouTube Screenshot)

Starring: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rabin, Alejandro Edda, Will Patton

Director: Evarardo Gout

Running Time: 103 Minutes

Rating: R for Sniveling, Racist, Terroristic Violence

Release Date: July 2, 2021 (Theaters)

I thought we were done with The Purge. With the 2016 release of The Purge: Election Year, a new administration ascended and officially ended the annual night of state-sanctioned lawlessness. But horror franchises never say die, so this one went the prequel route with 2018’s The First Purge. There was also a two-season TV series that debuted that same year, which I watched one episode of. As far as I know, it has little, if any, bearing on the movies. Now all the legal crime’s been reinstated in The Forever Purge, and as the title indicates, there’s a contingent intent on it never ending. But after such a satisfying conclusion in Election Year, that’s such a depressing prospect to me. So pretty much the only way I can find The Forever Purge palatable is by pretending that it’s essentially a standalone entry, so that’s what I’ll do.

It’s not too hard to pull off this mental trick, as Forever carries over no characters from any previous entries (save for the ever-present specter of the “New Founding Fathers of America” regime that conceived of The Purge in the first place). This time around we’re in Texas, with a white ranch-owning family and a Mexican family that works on the ranch as our requisite set of people who would prefer to barricade themselves up during this here Purge, thank you very much. (Josh Lucas’s Dylan Tucker, the biggest jackass of these clans, has the most selfish reason for opposing this ritual, as he declares, “I hate the damn Purge. It’s just hard to be social on that night.”) Then there are the truly demented forever purgers, among the most thoroughly evil caricatures of any good grindhouse flick.

After living through a pandemic and its attendant heightened anxiety, I’m not exactly in the mood for the 24/7 terror promised by The Forever Purge. Hell, I’m not usually ever in the mood for that, but at least when the earlier Purge editions came out, they felt much further removed from reality than they do now. But insurrectionists demanding that the government make their already-extreme policies even more extreme is very much a part of recent American history. At least The Forever Purge allows for some catharsis by making it very clear that it is on the side of the systemically downtrodden. This has always been an “eat the rich” franchise, and this time that’s clearer than ever, what with the villains aiming to essentially start a race war. In conclusion, I can’t remember any other mainstream film in my lifetime basically saying “Maybe Mexico is a better place to live than America right now,” so I have to applaud The Forever Purge‘s gumption and conviction.

The Forever Purge is Recommended If You Like: Revisiting a nightmare world

Grade: 3 out of 5 Purges