The Purge is well known for being a spookily relevant horror franchise. In 2020 a police department in Louisiana was caught playing the signature ‘Purge’ siren to mark the start of COVID-19 lockdowns, and later that year the famous Purge announcement speech was played by protestors on the streets of New York City.
But the best example came at the beginning of 2021, with the January 6 attack on the US Capitol feeling like The Purge truly coming to life. After all the ‘QAnon Shaman’ (aka Jake Angeli) with his painted face and buffalo horns looks like he’s walked straight off the screen of one of the later sequels.
All this hasn’t gone unnoticed by creator James DeMonaco. The Forever Purge is due out next week – having been delayed for a year due to COVID. In a new interview, DeMonaco explained how it’s only gotten more timely:
“It’s been a very shocking year in how things have mirrored the film obviously. People were calling me, going, ‘How did you predict all that stuff?’ I’m like, ‘I didn’t do anything.’ And I remember even a filmmaker friend, Joe Carnahan, he’s like, ‘You predicted all this. You’re crazy son of a …’ I’m like, ‘No, don’t blame me.’ It was really strange, man.”
In fact, when we showed the first preview to audiences, it was probably two months, I’d say after January 6th…I don’t fault them for this, they thought we shot the movie after January 6th. They just assume like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re basing what you wrote on what happened.’ I’m like, ‘No, no, we shot a year and a half ago.’ So part of me gets very sad that our country mirrors what I’ve written in these dark nihilistic films. I would love to say that they’re completely ridiculously science fiction. I would rather say that than say that they have any relevance or prescient nature at all. I wish that wasn’t true, but I think there’s no way around that this is the world we live in now. It’s a time of discord.”
The Forever Purge is a sequel to 2016’s The Purge: Election Year, which ended on a hopeful note as the Purge was abolished. Since then the USA has regressed: Post-Purge the divisions in society grew larger, resulting in the New Founding Fathers triumphantly returning to power and reinstating the nightmare. That’s where this new film picks up, showing the series’ signature mob violence and desperate attempts to survive.
“The sociopolitical climate of the time I’m writing gets right in there, seeps into the narrative and informs where I’m going, right or wrong, whether that’s good or bad, it starts getting in there. Sometimes I go too far and I got to bring it back. But I think Universal has been an amazing partner on this and that they’ve let me go to some pretty dark places. I think because first and foremost, it exists as a genre piece and then smuggle these ideas into it.”
For a long time, The Forever Purge was billed as the final installment in the franchise, though something may have changed behind the scenes as that’s already being walked back. Current word is that a sixth movie is “being considered”, which isn’t surprising given that these movies have grossed a cumulative total of $450 million against a combined budget of $35 million.
So I’d advise watching The Forever Purge carefully on July 2, as it may contain some unnerving hints about what the next few years might look like.