The Forever Purge (2021)

Rating: C+

Dir: Everardo Gout
Star: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Leven Rambin

Imagine if you can an America tearing itself asunder, filled with hatred, mistrust, intolerance, fuelled on disinformation, stoked by racial tensions and a blind anger at institutions.  And then imagine that the source of this, The Founding Fathers, have regained power and now seem intent on keeping the country as theirs.  Forever.  Yes.  Imagine all of that.  If you can.

Against this background we meet Juan (Huerta) and Adela (de la Reguera), a Mexican couple being smuggled under the border, and then quickly spin forward ten months to the day before The Purge.  Juan now works as a cowboy at a large and wealthy ranch, whilst Adela is in a kitchen somewhere in town, and it’s a warm welcome to Texas, and a town where the racism is open and explicit.  A place where we can look on in wonderment as locals stock up on guns and ammunition and pointed stares.

As the sirens sound Jaun’s wealthy employers, the Tuckers, close the shutters and hunker down for twelve hours of mild inconvenience.  Caleb (Will Patton) is the patriarch, with Harper (Rambin) his daughter, Dylan (Lucas) his warm-headed son, with his pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman).  For the less fortunate such as Juan and Adela, it’s time to retreat into compounds, where bored police and military make some very good overtime by keeping their flock safe.

“What does being a proud American mean nowadays?” Caleb asks as the Purge starts.

“…a nation reborn…”

Xenophobia writ large.  Hatred and fear set loose, set free, the violence brutal, random, uncaring, kneeling lines shot against walls, blood spraying.  You will recognise much of what blares from the speakers as the hunters hunt, as it’s all already mainstream.  The words, tone and implications.

“…the foreigners rape and pillage our nation…”

And, at the 30 minute point, the Purge is over, and nothing has happened to our players, except that we have learned that Adela can handle an assault rifle – such weapons being necessary kids for everyday home defence and random mass shootings.  All clear hooters sound and the shutters whirr smoothly open, compounds open, and people emerge slowly back into wonderful ranches or some vision of a holocaust, where the blood is washed, hosed and swept into gutters, and the dead are collected and bagged like garbage.

Sadly, and as you may have guessed from the film’s title, some have decided that they don’t want the fun to end at the sound of any hooter, and have formed a coalition to take over the country by force under the guise of an unending purge.  One wonders who might have been pulling their strings, as this uprising seems well organised, nation-wide, and not at all spontaneous.

Anyway, everything has rapidly gone to shit, and that’s enough about the plot as everything else unpacks as you might expect, and gets a little ‘flat’ and ‘by rote’.

This is a variously very pretty and well shot film, with some lovely, breathtaking, scenery.  It’s also well paced, and neatly done.  I can’t remember any particularly inventive touches, but it is a well executed (sorry!) film that supplies all of the visceral chaos and violence that you’d expect from any good and well financed disaster/outbreak/zombie film.  It’s all very well done as the Americans and Mexicans flee for El Paso, for the safe refuge being offered south of the border, being helped on their way by native Americans.  Subtext?  Surely not!!

This dystopian film might have seemed darkly fanciful a decade back, but now feels prophetic, leaving me wondering how it will be viewed through American eyes, suspecting that how you feel about the film will be coloured by how you feel about the issues within, although there is with enough here for both sides to ‘enjoy’.

Overall it’s a decent Purge film with few surprises, good performances, that contains all that you would expect from the franchise.

“Does this translate? Pendejo!” …!BLAM!