Following the record-breaking success of 2018’s The First Purge, which became the highest-grossing film in the notorious horror series, Blumhouse Productions and Platinum Dunes returns with a terrifying new chapter written by franchise creator and narrative mastermind James DeMonaco. The Forever Purge is the fifth installment in The Purge franchise, and features Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Alejandro Edda, and Will Patton.
De la Reguera and Huerta play Adela and Juan, a Mexican couple who escapes from a drug cartel and ends up stranded on a Texas ranch. There, they're at the mercy of the group of outsiders who plan to unlawfully continue the Purge. The Forever Purge, directed by Everardo Gout, was delayed from its original release date due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is finally going to release in theaters this Friday, July 2. Critics have started releasing their reviews of the film, so let’s check them out.
Our very own Eric Eisenberg rated the horror film a 3.5 out of 5 stars, calling it one of the best Purge movies yet. He enjoyed how The Forever Purge changes things up story-wise, focusing primarily on the time period after the 12-hour purge, when things turn into, well, a forever purge. Though he admits that some of the scares start out a little rocky in the beginning, it quickly dials up the intensity. Eisenberg said:
It’s a sequel that not only adds further complexity to the ideas at the core of the franchise, engaging in fresh topical discussions, but does so while also intensifying the standard stakes and cranking up the darkness.
Jude Dry of IndieWire commended the performances of Huerta and de la Reguera, noting that they carry the film. She applauded the kills in the film, noting that they don’t feel gratuitous, but she does admit that this horror movie is a little light on the horror. Dry also appreciated the motivations of the movie to “reach across the aisle,” saying:
It’s not a subtle bludgeoning, but hopefully it gets through to someone.
William Bibbiani from The Wrap also touched on the social justice aspects of the movie, and of the Purge franchise in general. Though he points out that The Forever Purge, “an action thriller with a political undercurrent,” gets kind of rocky in the details, the cinematography is striking and captures the symbolism of the franchise. Bibbiani said:
The Forever Purge sometimes loses its focus, but at its best, it’s still a riveting, violent, disturbing projection of how far America could backslide into the nation’s worst impulses.
Joshua Rivera from Polygon commented on the social commentary of the dystopian action flick, but he thought The Forever Purge missed the mark. Rivera argued that the execution is frustrating, noting that the Mexican immigrants are the protagonists, but the rich white family somehow gets the character arcs. He wrote:
An overwhelming chunk of The Forever Purge’s brisk 103 minutes is devoted to the film’s Mexican immigrants saving the Tuckers’ lives, helping them survive, and furthering their moral development. It is, frankly, an insulting running thread that sours an otherwise deft horror-thriller.
Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm also commented on what the horror film could have been, noting that The Forever Purge points out the similarities between the movie world and our own, but offers no real commentary on the matter. Though he did applaud Ana de la Reguera’s stand-out performance, he was overall disappointed, noting that the carnage eventually became boring. Evangelista said:
The Forever Purge succumbs to the same blandness that prevails through the series. If this truly is the end of The Purge franchise, it ends with a whimper, not a bang.
Well, it would seem that critics have pretty mixed opinions of The Forever Purge. You'll soon be able to form your own opinion, though, when the horror movie opens in theaters this Friday, July 2.