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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'The Forever Purge' Review: Crime Is Legal Again, For A Little While

Ana de la Reguera looking scared
Universal Pictures

If you have blinked at least once in the last 30 seconds, you might have missed one or two new instalments of an established horror franchise dropping into this world, such as 'The Purge' franchise's latest, The Forever Purge. As the tradition is, once a year there's a 12-hour window during a night where Purge happens and nearly anything is legal.

Here we are fast-tracking our way to the year 2048 and meet our main couple, Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and Juan (Tenoch Huerta), Mexican migrants now living in Texas. Juan works as a farm worker on a ranch owned by Caleb Tucker (Will Patton) whose son Dylan (Josh Lucas) doesn't seem to be too fond of Mexican people. After the night of the Purge begins, a nationwide white nationalist group influenced by the country's controlling party emerges as an unprecedented force that doesn't stop after the 12 hours and Adela, Juan and the Tuckers eventually set out to escape to Mexico as do many other Americans who aren't willing to take part in the Purge.

With the last film, 'The First Purge', I found the series to be running on empty in terms of the starting point that the film was supposed to have, especially considering that it was showing the first ever night of Purge. The Forever Purge manages to find a way around that roadblock and the idea that the 12 hours isn't enough for some - especially to those most filled with hate who have an agenda to purge all ''non-Americans'' from the country - is a solid premise to explore the horror that comes with.

The results just happen to be a mixed bag as director Everardo Gout and his team of filmmakers don't really have a grasp on the genre or themes. The horror comes from two or three short moments of screeching sound effects and the movie mostly fails as an action film, which turns out to be its most prevalent genre, since it's hard to make out anything that happens in the action scenes in the last third or to be wowed by anything because the choreography is deadly dull.

Of course, it doesn't help that series creator James DeMonaco's script feels like an afterthought to the first few pages where the political message is clumsily hammered into your skull with terrible dialogue that feel like teleprompter cues. That also makes its way to undermine the central performances as de la Reguera's character constantly gets bunch of ''Mrs. Obvious'' lines, Lucas' Dylan gets an undeserved ''maybe I'm not that xenophobic'' arc and Cassidy Freeman's (playing Cassie, Dylan's wife) reaction shots are just as awful as Cassie's overly manipulative pregnancy which doesn't add stakes to the story, as it's intended to do.

There's some good stuff left for Huerta who tries his hardest to make the material work, plus he and de la Reguera have enough chemistry to lead the movie without the Tucker family. They just happen to be stuck in a movie that isn't doing its genres well and doesn't have the filmmaking trickery to push it beyond mediocrity.

Smileys: Premise

Frowneys: Screenplay, Cassidy Freeman

A well a Purge, Purge, Purge, the Purge is the word.


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