The Forever Purge review: Our long, fake national nightmare is over
We did it. We have survived the Purge!
The horror-movie series about a dystopian America in which it’s legal to kill anybody you want for one night a year supposedly comes to an end with the fifth entry, “The Forever Purge.” I hope that’s true, but don’t be shocked if we get “The Purge VI: The Purge Awakens” in a couple of years.
the forever purge
Running time: 103 minutes. Rated R (strong/bloody violence, and language throughout.) In theaters.
Since the bloody franchise debuted in 2013, it’s become a “Handmaid’s Tale” for the dim. The premise: America has reached its boiling point of crime and social discord, so an insurgent political party called the New American Founding Fathers institutes one 12-hour period per year in which it’s perfectly legal to commit any crime, including murder. And they say Washington, DC, can’t get anything done.
That idea was fun once, maybe even twice, but by the fifth outing the formula has given way to preachiness and predictability.
“The Forever Purge” begins, like its predecessors did, with a newsreel explaining the state of the union. This time around, the issue is illegal immigration and the border wall. “One must ask — is the American Dream still alive?,” says one anchor. “The United States of Hate,” says another. And finally, “The New Founding Fathers reinstate the Purge,” someone says, before a demon chorus sings, “From sea to shining sea!”
At the end of 2016’s “The Purge: Election Year” — way to add to the discourse, guys — the deadly law was abolished. But, like Teri Hatcher every few years, it’s back in a big way.
Hoping to survive the night unscathed are a married couple of illegal immigrants from Mexico, Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera), who are living in southern Texas. A family of ranchers that Juan works for, led by a racist patriarch (Josh Lucas), also try to ride out the night in their house that converts into a bunker.
Twelve hours later, the sirens blare and the purge is over. Everything is hunky dory, right? Wrong. The killing spree lawlessly continues. We learn that a group of extremists using, I dunno, Reddit or something have proclaimed the “Forever Purge,” an unending parade of death till they achieve their Nazi-like dreams of a white America.
For those who protest this grotesque act, the only solution is to seek asylum in Mexico. And so our sorta-heroes head to El Paso.
The obvious pitfall of having nearly identical plots across five movies — people opposed to the Purge end up having their lives threatened by it — is the films get steadily less scary. I’m a wimp who’s shrieked at house flies, yet “The Forever Purge” was easy viewing.
Although their path is well-worn, Huerta and de la Reguera wear the hats of action stars and sympathetic moral authorities capably. It’s always a plus when you root for the leads not to die. In some slasher flicks, the characters are so annoying you choose #TeamSerialKiller.
This pair is great. That doesn’t make up for the overbearing political message that isn’t satirical, sophisticated or particularly frightening anymore. This is the right time to bow out, for “The Purge” has become a scourge.
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