The Forever Purge is about to change the rules, but it also changed the franchise’s aesthetic, marking the farthest departure from horror yet.
At its core, The Purge franchise has always used horror as a means to convey the desire for violence that the country and the world deal with. Each film in the series turns the real dangers surrounding violence into an annual event where all crime is legal. But the franchise’s latest entry, The Forever Purge, continues the trend with a deviation from horror to a seemingly more action/Western approach.
Unlike the other installments, The Forever Purge’s trailer takes place mostly in the day. Set in the West, the film plays up the tropes of the region, like cowboys and shootouts, and frames it as a more bombastic experience. The trailer still features radical purgers trying to extend the annual event indefinitely. However, scenes such as car chase shootouts, come off as less unsettling and more of what is typically seen in traditional action films.
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The traditional action film vibe that the trailer gives off can even be felt through its antagonists. Not only are they obnoxious purgers with a penchant for chaos, but they also dress similarly to cowboys. The distinction between the film’s protagonists and enemies makes the latter feel more like over-the-top bad guys from classic ’80s action films like Mad Max. However, even though The Forever Purge feels like a far cry from the horror franchise that came before, its new tone may fit perfectly with the franchise’s overarching theme.
Since the original film, The Purge series has explored the event from different perspectives. The first film featured a home invasion and completely leaned into the horror genre. The following sequels continued the horror trend but sprinkled in action, gang violence and a political thriller. These choices helped present new ideas to the audience without rehashing the same storyline and worked to great effect.
The Forever Purge looks to be following a similar path by severing horror entirely and moving into action, which isn’t a bad thing. The Purge franchise will always adapt to the story it is trying to tell. For the final installment, the question of the purge lasting forever implies that the horror has to end at some point, and retaliation and survival must begin. The new approach seems like an identity crisis on the surface, but it may just be the final evolution of the long-running franchise.
Directed by Everardo Gout and written by James DeMonaco, The Forever Purge stars Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman and Will Patton. The film releases July 2 in theaters.
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