All the rules are broken as a sect of lawless marauders decides that the annual Purge does not stop at daybreak and instead should never end.
The fifth installment of the wildly popular Purge franchise takes The Purge concept from the city and suburbs to rural Texas, near the Mexican border. As in the previous Purge films, The Forever Purge commentates on current political issues, with this film focusing on issues impacting Latinos in contemporary America.
The main characters, Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera), a married couple, who fled cartel violence in Mexico, adjust to their new life in Texas. They work blue-collar jobs at a meatpacking factory and the family-owned Tucker ranch. As they survive their first Purge, domestic terrorists illegally continue The Purge under the banner the “Ever After Purge”, with the intent of overthrowing the American government. During this chaos, the Purge Purification Force, a white supremacist domestic terrorist group, aim to “purify America” by killing as many Mexicans as possible. Along with survivors of the Tucker ranch, Juan and Adela race against time to cross the opened Mexican border before it closes. Their only chance for survival is to work together to fight off the domestic terrorist while confronting bias within their group.
Having two Latino leads in a major Hollywood studio film is a welcomed sight, considering how underrepresented Latinos are in Hollywood films. According to The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, in the top 100 films of 2019, only 5% of all speaking roles were Latino, despite Latinos being 18% of the total American population.
In both American and Latin American cinema, it is rare to have a dark-skinned Latino as a starring character. Latino casting in film tends to lean towards lighter-skinned Latinos, such as In the Heights. With The Forever Purge, not only is Huerta, a dark-skinned Latino, the lead, he is also a hero. Typically, if a dark-skinned Latino male is in a film, he usually portrays a villain, against either the lead light-skinned Latino or White hero. This exhaustingly perpetuated image in film continually perpetuates the stereotype of associating dark skin with criminal and undesirable behavior. This image also adds to the issue of colorism within the Latino community.
Huerta portrays Juan as a dedicated husband, hardworking, and bold fighter. His acting style appears to be influenced by Jorge Negrete and Bruce Willis. This image of Juan is a breath of fresh air. It’s very encouraging to see this positive image chipping away at the exhaustingly overused stereotype.
De la Reguera portrays Adela as a powerful woman, who is also caring, loyal, and a skilled fighter. The fighting skills that Adela shows throughout the film appears to be an ode to the Soldaderas of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Soldaderas were female rebel fighters, many of whom were trained in weaponry, espionage, and warfare. They were essential to the rebel resistance, holding an array of positions from commanding officers to camp followers.
Adela is put in a unique position of serving as a model leader. She is compassionate and protective to those who need the most help, especially the very pregnant Tucker wife Cassie. An action hero that little girls, especially Latinas, can look up to, seeing how there is still a lack of strong Latina heroes in film.
Director Everardo, like Huerta and de la Reguera, Gout is also Mexican, bringing an authentic voice and vision to The Forever Purge. His artistic direction is best seen in the Spanish spoken by the Mexican characters. In many American films, the Spanish spoken is too formal and sounds too rigid. With Gout’s direction, he helped authenticate the Spanish spoken by the characters, adding phrases and slang words commonly used in daily Spanish. This helps to create a deeper connection to Juan and Adela, especially to audience members who speak or understand the use of typical conversational Spanish.
The Forever Purge is an enjoyable action horror movie. It would have added to the film’s story, to have more character buildup and background for Juan and Adela, such as more explanation about their lives in Mexico and an exploration of their relationship as a married couple. However, it most importantly provides a positive representation of Latinos and role models that lack in overall American cinema.
With the ever-increasing Latino audience hungry for representation, especially in the horror genre, The Forever Purge shows the potential of what Latinos can be in a horror movie, if given the opportunity.