• The Forever Purge (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Universal Studios
    Released on: September 28th, 2021.
    Director: Everardo Gout
    Cast: Ana de la Reguera, Josh Lucas, Will Patton, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin
    Year: 2021
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    The Forever Purge – Movie Review:

    Adela (Ana de la Reguera) and her husband Juan (Tenoch Huerta) make their way illegally across the border from Mexico into the United States. When the traffickers that got them in leave, a young boy hands them a card with the picture of a flower on it and tells them that if things get bad they should follow the roses.

    Fast forward a bit and Juan is working as a ranch hand for Caleb Tucker (Will Patton), whose son, Dylan (Josh Lucas), treats him and his co-worker, T.T. (Alejandro Edda) poorly because of their status and nationality. Dylan is married to Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman), who is pretty far along in her pregnancy and going to give birth any day now.

    News casts let us know that The Purge is about to start. Adela, Juan and T.T. take shelter in a heavily armed building with a group of other immigrants, while the Tucker family stay in their estate, metal grates covering all of the doors and windows and plenty of guns and ammo handy... just in case. A few hours later and further newscasts let us know that The Purge is over, until someone runs up to the anchor, yells out “FAKE NEWS!” and shoots him in the head live on the air.

    From here, Juan and T.T. go to work are immediately know that something is off. There's no one else around and the horses have been let out of the stables. They turn the corner and find that one of their co-workers, Kirk (Will Brittain), is holding the entire family at gun point and ranting about the haves versus the have nots. Juan and T.T. step in and save them, but not before Caleb is killed. When reinforcements arrive, they scramble into a truck, try to reconnect with Adela and then figure out what exactly is going on and how they'll be able to survive it.

    You don’t have to be psychic to figure out pretty early on how most of this story is going to play out, but director Everardo Gout’s 2021 film is an entertaining and tense picture despite the fact that it’s a pretty predictable one. He manages to keep the tension high and craft some interesting, likeable characters in addition to some pretty despicable ones, there isn’t a lot of grey area here. The film, like its predecessors, wears its politics on its sleeve. In addition to the “FAKE NEWS” bit the border wall plays a part in the story and the leader of a racist militia group refers to his wife as “mother” and to Juan and T.T. as a couple of “bad hombres.” The script by the creator of the series and the director of the first few movies in the run, James DeMonaco, clearly took inspiration from current events and it’s hard not to think about the January 6th insurrection when you see hordes of right wing fascists trying to take over, even if the movie was finished before that happened.

    The production values are decent but the cinematography is frequently marred by a lot of close up, shakey-cam shots that don’t do a very good job of showcasing the action the way that you might hope they would. The sound design is very strong and the performances are generally good, if never great. Placing the action in Texas is a nice touch as well, it gives the movie a slightly different look and feel than some of the earlier entries. As usual, there are quite a few moments where you need to really suspend your disbelief, but if you can do that, and don’t mind the fact that the movie is about as subtle as a kick in the nuts, this isn’t a bad watch at all.

    The Forever Purge – Blu-ray Review:

    Universal Studios brings The Forever Purge to region free Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the feature taking up 29.8GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Shot digitally, there’s obviously no print damage or dirt to discuss, the image is pristine. There are some sequences, where the camera goes in really close, that you might notice a bit of motion blurring but otherwise the picture quality here is really strong. There are no problems with any compression artifacts and detail is generally very impressive, even in the film’s many darker set pieces.

    The English language Dolby Atmos track on this disc is excellent. Optional Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound tracks are provided in French and Spanish and subtitles are offered up in English SDH, French and Spanish.

    As far as extras go, the main supplement is an eight minute behind the scenes featurette entitled Collapsing The System: Behind The Forever Purge that is made up of some interesting cast and crew interviews that discuss following up the earlier films in the series and what was done to make this one a bit different.

    Aside from that, we get a quick featurette called Creeptastic Wardrobe that reviews how the costumes were put together for the Purgers, a storyboard sequence showing an alternate opening, a quick deleted scene that could have been left in since it gives some context to a semi-important character, and a trailer for the feature. The disc also includes menus and chapter selection and as this is a combo pack release it comes bundled with a DVD version of the movie and an insert card that can be redeemed for a digital HD download version of the film. Universal also packages this release with a slipcover.

    The Forever Purge – The Final Word:

    The Forever Purge is definitely on the predictable side but it does a good job of pulling you into the story and keeping the intensity level high throughout. It isn’t a subtle film, but neither were the films in the series that came before it and it makes for an entertaining action/horror hybrid. Universal’s Blu-ray is light on extras but the presentation is strong, making this a solid release overall.

    Check out some screen caps from the included DVD (since the Blu-ray didn’t want to cooperate with my BR-Rom drive for some reason)!