Vaulting from the success of 2018’s The First Purge, Blumhouse’s infamous terror franchise is about to take audiences into innovative new territory once again in The Forever Purge.
Reinventing the wheel with each new entry, franchise creator and narrative mastermind James DeMonaco throws all the rules we’ve come to know out of the window as members of an underground movement, no longer satisfied with just one annual night of mayhem and murder, decide that the annual Purge no longer ends at daybreak and instead should never end.
For DeMonaco, many of the themes that he addresses in the franchise are borne from observing the growing fault-lines in America over the last decade. “With each year, our country seems to be growing even more divided, more exclusionary, angrier, less tolerant,” he says. “At points, the country seems like a powder keg ready to blow over some issue—gun control, immigration, religious beliefs, etc. Immigration was the most recent issue creating a deep rift in American thought, and this is what I wanted to tackle in The Forever Purge. I wanted to ask the question, ‘Was one day enough to release all this anger?’ The answer was no.’”
Finding the perfect director for the project was vital to DeMonaco who wanted, first and foremost, someone whose artistic sensibilities would ground the film in the real world, visually, narratively and emotionally. “The main characters in the film are a Mexican couple, very much in love, leaving Mexico and immigrating to America,” he says. “We wanted a director who could bring real authenticity to this story. Everardo Gout (writer-director of the award-winning thriller Days of Grace) is from Mexico; he’s lived in New York, Los Angeles and Paris. We knew there would be no bullshit to his storytelling.” DeMonaco found Gout to be a passionate and imaginative director who understood the socio-political underpinnings of The Purge and could flesh them out even further. “Everardo saw and recognized the political ideas we were smuggling into the genre narrative,” DeMonaco says. “He brought details to the story that came from his life in Mexico…details I wouldn’t be able to have found in my research. And, like the characters in the movie, Everardo hails from another country and his feelings about The Purge—and what it ultimately means about America and its relationship with violence—are unique and different than the feelings that those of us born in the U.S. may have. It was refreshing to get a new view into our country and into the franchise.”
And while Gout admits that his agent sent him the treatment for the film knowing that it wasn’t the kind of project he would typically think of doing, he soon accepted the offer as he “felt that the relevance of the material was perfect for our times.”
With The Forever Purge on the 16th of July in the UK, SCREAM sat down with one of the film’s stars, Ana de la Reguera (Army of the Dead, “From Dusk Till Dawn”, Nacho Libre), who explained the importance of bringing true authenticity to the film and its themes and preparing herself to take on such a physical role, especially with a director with a particular penchant for huge-scale single take sequences.
Words: Howard Gorman