“The Forever Purge” is coming to theaters this weekend and all the rules are seemingly broken in the fifth entry in this franchise. A lawless portion of the population that (with a timely style) consider themselves to be the real American patriots feel the Purge should not end at daybreak and instead, feel it should last…forever. But does this concept really change the formula of these action-(horror)-thrillers? That was the question I pondered going in and after watching, I feel like it didn’t change much at all other than fitting in with the tone of the current social climate. Which is something this franchise has done for years, whether it be in using social or economic class structures, political beliefs, or in this case, centering on the undercurrent of immigration.
I think if you love these movies and thoroughly enjoy the settings and situations, they pull viewers through, then there is certainly some fun to be had here. It has all the usual Purge movie tropes. It has its moments of tension, and plenty of close calls as a group of characters try to make it from Point A to Point B. It has plenty of characters having to skirt along buildings, and check for clearings to evade groups of psychopaths all dressed up in their demented Halloween costumes. And admittedly, it does generate genuine spots of suspense and uneasiness and that is essentially what you want from these flicks. But it also has a generic story with a collection of actors that are all more than serviceable yet fail to carry the intrigue as an ensemble.
The story and all of its parts do feel recycled. Sure, the social undercurrent is timely to our own reality and the hyper realism does provide some interesting elements to wrap your head around. However, the progression of the story-line very much feels by-the-numbers for this franchise. It’s easily predictable and despite some close calls for the characters and they duck and dodge moments of imminent death, nothing about the movie lands with the intended impact. Primarily because it doesn’t feel fresh, as much as it feels like a retread of the last few movies.
It certainly does have some fun killing. The violence is appealing in all its gratuitousness, but it sort of feels like empty calories. That isn’t to say it’s a bad movie. It just doesn’t feel as inspired as it should have, and it really only goes further to cement the fact this franchise has stalled out. So, if you want to see a new direction in this one, it may be a letdown. But if you’re curious I will say there is effort in the performances that translates on screen nicely to make some decent characters out of simplistic writing if you let them. The special-effects are admittedly made-for-tv quality, but it doesn’t hinder much. There are a few fun sequences that can have you on edge. Which in the end, results in a movie that may deliver some fun for die-hard fans. While also being forgettable and boring at times for those wanting to see a fresh approach to the idea of the annual Purge.
Anthony J. Digioia II - SilverScreen Analysis © All Rights Reserved.