Of course, he does not succeed, and the film follows him and a largely Black cast of Staten Islanders as they attempt to escape the Purge night’s violence. Of all the “Purge” films, “The First Purge” most directly acknowledges the ugly reality that many Americans would no doubt use such an opportunity to vent their racial animus in horrific and violent ways. An indelible, disturbing image of Noel choking the life from a white stormtrooper in a Sambo mask hits far harder than similar agitprop from across the series. The filmmakers clearly grasp, for the first time, that without nailing the “humanity” part of “inhumanity,” depicting it is ultimately just an exercise in morbid juvenilia.
Which brings us to “The Forever Purge.” Like its predecessors, the newest “Purge” flick gleefully prods at raw wounds in the American psyche, depicting societal tensions as the basis for grisly violence. And it does so while providing an allegory more explicit than any film in the series thus far. In a town on the northern side of the U.S.-Mexico border, racist paramilitary groups keep the annual violence going past its legally-sanctioned window in an attempt to rid American society of non-whites. A Hallmark-handsome family of white ranchers with a pregnant matriarch and their Mexican migrant colleagues then must make a treacherous border crossing to Mexico to escape the violence, in a predictable inversion of the typical North American refugee narrative.