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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Forever Purge

March 28, 2022 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
The Forever Purge Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #606: The Forever Purge

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that is fairly certain it wouldn’t look good in a cowboy hat, The Gratuitous B-movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number six hundred and six, I take a look at the action horror sequel The Forever Purge, which hit movie theaters in the United States in very early July, 2021.

The Forever Purge

Image Credit: UPHE

The Forever Purge, directed by Everardo Valerio Gout, is the fifth movie in The Purge franchise and the fourth sequel (well, if you want to get technical about things, it’s really the third sequel as the fourth movie in the franchise, The First Purge, is a prequel. There was also a TV series that aired on the USA cable channel for two seasons but I didn’t watch it so I have no idea where it fits into the overall The Purge franchise). Featuring an ensemble cast headed by two actors who are sort of in that weird area where they’re not really stars but they’re not exactly character actors either, The Forever Purge is a nasty bit of action and horror cinema that also, I’d argue, works as a science fiction movie (social science fiction). As a big fan of the movie franchise (again, I didn’t watch the TV show so I have no idea how that really fits into the whole thing), I enjoyed The Forever Purge quite a bit. It’s one of the few low budget genre franchises still going strong, getting theatrical play, and making money. You really have to make an effort to support that kind of thing.

The Forever Purge takes place several years after the events of The Purge: Election Year and the New Founding Fathers of America, the political party that created the annual purge event and was voted out of office at the end of Election Year, is back in power and has reinstated the purge event. The main action of the story takes place in Texas, where we see multiple groups of people before the purge, during the purge, and after the purge. There’s Adela and Juan, Mexican immigrants who we see come over (and under) the U.S./Mexico border at the very beginning of the movie. They’re in America to find work and build a better life for themselves, with Juan working on a ranch and Adela working in a meat packing plant. Adela likes being in America and is trying to “fit in” by learning English, where Juan isn’t too keen on his new surroundings (he’s tired of dealing with racist assholes and would much rather speak his native language) but he loves Adela and will stick things out. Juan also works with T.T. (Alejandro Edda), his best friend and fellow immigrant. We also have the Tucker family, who own and operate the ranch that Juan works at. Caleb Tucker (Will Patton) is the head Tucker, with his son Dylan (Josh Lucas) as his direct underling. Dylan’s pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman) is also there, along with his sister Harper (Leven Rambin). There are also other workers at the ranch, mainly a guy named Kirk (Will Brittain).

So we meet all of these people several hours before the start of the purge as they all go about their daily lives. Everyone is nervous about the purge because, well, it’s the purge. The Tucker family intends to lock itself down in the main ranch house, which is outfitted with the usual “anti-purge” stuff (armored doors over the windows, a surveillance system, and they’re also heavily armed inside in the event someone manages to get inside). Adela and Juan get picked up by a bus and are driven to a sort of holdout/hiding place for poor people (I don’t know what else to call it). No one in the main groups wants to participate in the government sanctioned violence.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

So the purge happens, loads of people die all over the United States, and the next morning everyone who survived gets on with their lives. The purge only happens once a year, for twelve hours, and then it’s over. That’s how it’s always worked.

Until this year. This year, the purge continues the next day, with rampant violence everywhere. The audience sees via TV news reports of “the day after the purge” that there are scores of people all over the country still destroying things and killing people (a TV news reporter is shot in the head live on the air). And as soon as the audience is made aware of this, we find out that Kirk and most of his fellow ranch workers have decided that they, too, are going to continue to purge and have taken the Tucker family hostage. Bound and gagged in the front of the house, Kirk threatens to kill all of them because they’re still purging and he’s sick of rich people owning him and treating him and people like him like garbage. It’s at this point that Juan and T.T. arrive back at the ranch, notice something is up, and arm themselves. As soon as they find out what’s going on, Juan and T.T. engage in a shootout with Kirk and the other purgers and quickly dispatch them. Juan and T.T. then untie the Tuckers (all but Caleb because he, after giving a speech essentially agreeing with Kirk and his disgust with the rich, Caleb gets shot in the head for calling Kirk and his fellow purgers pieces of shit).

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Now, while all of that is going on, Adela is arrested by the police after being attacked by two bunny mask wearing purgers (this is the “goat trap” scene seen in the trailers and whatnot), put in the back of a police van along with her fellow meat packing plant employee Darius (Sammi Rotibi. Darius helped Adela kill the purgers), and then the van is attacked by a gang of heavily armed forever purgers. What the heck is going on here? Who, or what, are these forever purger people?

Basically, the forever purge was initiated by Ever After, a mega white supremacist group that believes they need to continue the purge indefinitely until America is “cleansed” of everyone who isn’t a “real”/”traditional” American (anyone who isn’t white). They are a sort of natural result of the generally racist idea behind the purge. They don’t appear to be the only ones engaging in the forever purge, but they seem to be the most organized group among the many. As a result of this, the NFFA declares martial law, calls in the U.S. military, and it’s a full on war between the NFFA, the Ever After people, and everyone else. It’s complete chaos.

So the Tucker family teams up with Juan and T.T. go try to find Adela, they eventually find her and rescue her, and then they all team up in order to survive (Darius goes off on his own and is never seen again so we have no idea what happens to him). They first try to make it to the U.S./Mexico border as the Mexican government announces that they will allow unarmed American refugees into Mexico for the next several hours (Canada also allows refugees under the same plan). That plan eventually turns to shit when the Ever After people ratchet up the violence and chaos, killing as many people as they can while burning towns and cities down and blowing up a military base (blowing up the base forces the NFFA to surrender Texas to the Ever After group). The Tucker/Adela/Juan alliance eventually hooks up with Chiago (Zahn McClarnon), a Native American and anti-purge activist who is helping Americans get across the U.S./Mexico border. Will they all survive the approaching Ever After killers?

A good chunk of the The Forever Purge happens during the day, which is a new thing for the movie franchise. There is an extended section that takes place during the night, but most of the carnage happens during the day. And when I say carnage I mean goddamn carnage. As soon as the forever purge begins it’s just non-stop violence and there’s no escaping it. There are moments where things are so bad that you think no one is going to survive, including the Tucker family and Adela and Juan. And when you include the NFFA participating in the chaos, trying to stop the Ever After group from continuing the forever purge, you have no idea what the hell is going to happen. Will the NFFA nuke Texas? Will Ever After start seizing NFFA tanks and using them? The violence that happens during the day is, while not all that gory, often sickening because it’s so blatant. The violence that happens at night, under cover of darkness, is disorienting and confusing. Just how the hell is anyone going to survive this?

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Forever Purge is paced a bit different than previous The Purge movies as the ticking clock of the purge event is gone. Things don’t seem to happen as quickly as they did before and you are just like the Tucker/Adela and Juan group; scared to death because you have no idea what to expect. Because where do you go when the former controlled violence of the purge is now completely out of control? I was surprised that Kirk and his fellow forever purgers didn’t last longer in the movie. They all had a weird, unique look (sort of zombie killer cowboys) and I really thought they were going to put up more of a fight trying to kill the Tucker family. The actual sort of main bad guy is Elijah Hardin (Jeffrey Doornbos), one of the leaders of the local Ever After group. Elijah is completely unhinged and someone who really, truly believes in what he’s doing, which is just sickening. There are no redeeming qualities about him at all, which makes him, at least to me, terrifying. There is no way to “deprogram” a guy like Elijah. He’s a terrorist thug and a highly motivated killer and proud murderer. You either find a way to run away from him or you have to kill him. There’s no real middle ground. Again, to me, that’s terrifying.

Director Everardo Valerio Gout does an exceptional job with keeping the story moving and amping up the terror. Gout also knows how to stage the movie’s various action scenes to maximum effect. I’m surprised that he didn’t make the movie bloodier/gorier as the plot and some of the action set pieces seem to be tailor made for gore galore, but I can’t really complain about that as the amount of carnage he manages to put onscreen is simply amazing. There are also multiple big action sequences involving tanks that make you think the movie cost hundreds of millions of dollars to make when the movie actually cost less than $20 million. If he wants to pursue it, I think Gout could become a modern action movie master (I’d love to see him make a Jason Statham movie).

The movie’s performances are generally good. Ana de la Reguera is fantastic as Adela, the badass Mexican immigrant that wants to believe in America. She has tremendous chemistry with Tenoch Huerta, who plays Juan. Juan’s cynicism is spot on (it’s also kind of funny in a sick way). I love their back and forth scenes where they discuss America while also professing their love for one another. Alejandro Edda is terrific as Juan’s friend T.T. He’s the kind of guy you want to have helping you out when the shit goes down. Among the Tucker family, Will Patton is his usual awesome self as the family patriarch Caleb (the movie really could have used more of him). Levin Rambin and Cassidy Freeman are great as Harper and Cassidy. Rambin is a badass with a shotgun, while Cassidy is a soon-to-be Mom who is just trying to survive so she can give birth. And Josh Lucas, who I usually can’t fucking stand, does a good job as Dylan, the capable man of action who is too stupid to realize that his “mild racism” isn’t mild at all. The lesson he learns by the end of the movie will probably be eye rolling for some, but I liked it. It actually shows that there might be hope for humanity. Maybe.

I will say, though, that the movie could have used more of Sammi Rotibi as Darius. I would have loved to have seen Darius hook up with the Tucker/Adela and Juan alliance and kick some ass. I also would have loved to see more from Zahn McClaron’s Chiago. It would have been fun to see more of his TV interviews where he discussed the purge before it happened. Chiago is also an expert with exploding arrows. For my money you can never see enough of that kind of thing.

So is The Forever Purge the final movie in The Purge franchise? According to Wikipedia The Forever Purge was originally meant to be the final movie in the franchise, but it sounds like Blumhouse and company want more movies (a sixth movie is “in development”). I’m not entirely sure I like the idea of a “worldwide purge” without a movie setting that concept up, but I’d likely watch it anyway because I’m a fan of the franchise. I think I would like to see another prequel, a movie that bridges the gap between Election Year and The Forever Purge. What the hell happened that made the American people, after voting out the New Founding Fathers of America, vote them back into office? Did the American people really miss “the purge” that much?

I liked The Forever Purge quite a bit. It’s a solid action horror sequel in a low budget franchise that keeps putting out worthwhile sequels that get major theatrical releases. You have to support that kind of thing when it happens. I look forward to the next one, whatever it is and whenever it comes out.

See The Forever Purge. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 143 onscreen. Potentially millions off screen. (thanks to the Dead Meat YouTube channel for compiling that number. The first one, not the second one).

Explosions: Multiple, big and small.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Two people walking in the desert, an underground tunnel, racism, economic anxiety, general public upheaval, attempted horse taming, horse taming, a slaughter house, dinner, the boss handing out money in envelopes, purge preparation, a bus, a purge montage where we see people beaten and murdered, dancing, a serious gun cabinet, a fierce political speech condemning the New Founding Fathers of America, another montage of the purge, a violence truck, the immediate aftermath of the purge, a coyote eating a dead woman, people trying to clean stuff up, a TV reporter is shot in the head on live TV, attempted post-purge purging, a lead pipe beating, outdoor bondage, a quick speech about the poor being exploited by the rich, bullet to the head, a full on assault rifle rescue, talk of “the forever purge,” RPG rocket attack, wild van flipping, sledgehammer to the head, attempted rape, a serious neck snap, an entire town in flames, a brief hotel pit stop, talk of how the forever purge started, off screen martial law, a discussion about who is racist, armed bad guys on motorcycles, a tank runs over several cars, U.S. military hooey, serious carnage in the streets, a massive explosion, movie theater hooey, attempted racist murder, another RPG rocket attack, exploding army base, a woman in labor, dune buggy attack, exploding arrows, a vicious sneak attack, a brutal hand-to-hand brawl, attempted spinning dirt bike tire to the face, machete to the top of the head, serious throat slashing, lasso hooey, a super righteous bullet to the fucking head, and an uncertain future for America.

Kim Richards?: Likely off screen.

Gratuitous: The New Founding Fathers of America are voted back into office after years and they reinstate the purge, Will Patton, Josh Lucas, Native American on TV talking about how the purge is terrible for America, a Mexican that likes to speak Spanish, a woman learning English, business having purge sales, Wil Patton questioning what it means to be an American, the purge announcement, the purge announcement in Spanish, a racist militia, people trying to clean stuff up, killer cowboys, a guy recognizing gunshot wounds, people getting off on violence, “Let’s cut the shit,” “following the roses,” exploding arrows, and an uncertain future for America.

Best lines: “If there’s a problem, follow the roses,” “A little more than you expected, huh?,” “That’s a cowboy,” “Crazy man,” “I’m gonna lock down now, y’all,” “Get comfortable. We’ll be here for the next twelve hours,” “Baby! Put the gun down!,” “America will be American once again!,” “You’re gonna die! You’re all gonna fucking die!,” “This is the real purge! The eternal purge!,” “This is insane. Didn’t people hear the siren?,” “That is American music, motherfucker!,” “Fucking pig!,” “Now these assholes are really pissing me off!,” “So there is nowhere safe to go? Nowhere to get help?,” “Let’s go to Mexico,” “There’s a fucking tank down there!,” “Return to your homes! Repeat, return to your homes!,” “Fuck you, redneck,” “Let the purification begin!,” “This is our last stand!,” “Hunt’em down and kill’em all! Save that Mexican sonofabitch for me!,” “Does this translate, pendejo?,” and “Congratulations, Dad. Gracias, Juan.”

Rating: 9.0/10.0


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The Forever Purge

Ana de la Reguera– Adela
Tenoch Huerta– Juan
Josh Lucas– Dylan Tucker
Will Patton– Caleb Tucker
Leven Rambin– Harper Tucker
Cassidy Freeman– Cassidy Tucker
Alejandro Eda– T.T.
Will Brittain– Kirk
Sammi Rotibi– Darius Bryant
Zahn McClarnon– Chiago
Jeffrey Doornbos– Elijah Hardin

(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Everado Valerio Gout
Screenplay by James DeMonaco

Distributed by Universal Pictures and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Rated R for strong/bloody violence and language throughout
Runtime– 103 minutes

Buy it here