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- The Forever Purge
- Directed by Everardo Gout
- Written by James DeMonaco
- Starring Josh Lucas, Ana de la Reguera and Tenoch Huerta
- Classification R; 103 minutes
Sound the alarm, hide the children and lock the doors: another Purge movie is here. And it’s deadlier, and dumber, than ever.
Writer James DeMonaco’s Purge series, which has now produced five films and a short-lived television series, has such a wonderfully sick conceit – one night a year in America, all crime is legal – that it is an absolute cultural tragedy that none of the productions have lived up to its cheap-thrills promise. Instead, DeMonaco and a succession of interchangeably middling directors have done the bare minimum, creating a series of low-rent thrillers as reliably ho-hum as discount July 4 fireworks.
Filmed back in the fall of 2019, The Forever Purge arrives today not exactly dated, but certainly past the prime of its big sick Trump 2.0 joke. Turns out that the Purge wasn’t successfully abolished back in 2016′s The Purge: Election Year, and instead America is back in a hell-scape governed by the fascist New Founding Fathers of America. Only now, Americans’ blood lust can no longer be contained to one night, leading rogue MAGA-esque militias to institute a “Forever Purge” targeting immigrants and anyone not considered “true” patriots. Cue dialogue flecked with references to “bad hombres” and one bad guy who calls his wife by the Mike Pence-ian moniker of “Mother.” Har-har-har, right?
At the centre of the new madness are two odd-couple families: a conservative Texas ranch clan led by quasi-racist Dylan (Josh Lucas) and good-hearted recent-immigrant couple Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera). With America now descending into 24/7 chaos, our lead characters high-tail it for the closest safe haven they can find: Mexico. (We’re told that Canada is also opening its borders to American refugees, but sadly that tale will have to wait for the Canadian Purge spinoff, I guess. Telefilm, get those funds ready!)
Again, there are some decent ideas bubbling around DeMonaco’s brain – although the “Mexico is now safer than America” joke has been done before, tracing at least back to 2004′s The Day After Tomorrow – and I appreciate how new-to-the-series director Everardo Gout delivers an impressive level of destruction with a mid-level budget. And there is a slight bit of entertainment to be found in contrasting Gout and DeMonaco’s work with this season’s other big society-falls-apart epic, Michel Franco’s Mexico City-set New Order.
But The Forever Purge is ultimately low-rent, low-brow, low-low-low filmmaking – the cinematic equivalent of talking to your stupidest liberal friend, who thinks they fully comprehend American politics just because they’ve watched, well, the Purge movies.
The Forever Purge opens July 2 in Canadian theatres, dependent on public-health restrictions
In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.