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3 Rules for Writing a Purge Sequel


So, last week the Purge was released, showing its audience a world where all crime was legal for one day. It was an interesting debate on how far we, as humans, would go, if we knew there would be no consequences for our actions. The villains in this movie, and even some of the good guys for that matter, saw the Purge as a necessary part of humanity, while we, as the audience, saw the characters losing their humanity slowly onscreen. It was a really gripping political debate. Sadly, all of the deep meanings were lost on a movie that just wanted to scare the living daylights out of us.

At the end of my review, I mentioned that I predicted the Purge would become subject to several awful sequels, like most horrors that seem to find some original territory (Paranormal Activity, Wrong Turn – maybe even Insidious). However, I also believe that because there were so many missed opportunities in the first Purge film, that maybe this premise does deserve a second chance at telling its story. However, before anyone sits down to write up a script, I am laying out three rules to make sure that we get the most out of any attempt at a second movie.


The Purge saw the Sanders family get ripped apart, but in a way, they became stronger as a family unit, because of it. The daughter was going through her disobedient stage (at one point, she seems more intent on helping her murderous boyfriend, rather than her father, who her boyfriend is trying to kill), and Mary Sanders seemed a bit more able to take control of her own life. Knowing other terrible movie sequels, I imagine that Purge 2 would pick up where the last movie left off, with the same family struggling to get their life back on track, when shit happens all over again. Hell, there is even a potential story with the neighbours that could be exploited.

At the very least, kill the daughter off this time!

At the very least, kill the daughter off this time!

But, the key aspect of the Purge is that DeMonaco, the director, was trying to get across the idea that every family is, more or less, going through what the Sanders are going through. Therefore, why not show another family? As long as you were careful not to re-tread the same ground (my other rules will help in that aspect), then Purge 2 could be even more thought-provoking that the original, without really adding anything to the story. Maybe we could see a family that aren’t as rich as the Sanders. Or a cop, too idealistic to let the Purge just happen? There’s a world of ideas out there, so please don’t waste it on the same family.


Yes, OK, the masked killers were one of the best things about the film. They were creepy and weird and Rhys Wakefield was awesome as the ringleader. However, masked murderers aren’t really what the Purge is about: they were just a little something added on to boost the fear factor. I had no problem with the masks – I had a problem with the writers getting lazy with the scares, the second they got masked people into the movie, but other than that, the masks were an overall positive aspect for the film. But just like the Sanders family, please don’t go back on old ground.

If the Purge does get infested with terrible sequel after terrible sequel, it will be the mask people that will stick it out to the end. I imagine, rather than people telling their friends about the movie where crime was legal for 12 hours, people are telling them to go see the movie with the mask people. It’s quite sad, but in fairness, after watching Luther and The Strangers, it’s quite clear that masks are the easiest way to scare people these days. But I want to see more villains. The mask people were just one crazed gang in the whole of America. What else is lurking in the shadows? Lunatics let out from an asylum? A politician, who isn’t allowed to be killed, but decides to kill others? At the very least, a different kind of mask?


But the main thing that I want to see changed is ‘get the story out of the house’. With the Sandin family and the masks, I can see them staying in a sequel, just because the writers think that is what the audience want. But, keeping the story in a house is just a lack of imagination on the director’s part. At the very least, make the story end up outside. I appreciate that DeMonaco wanted to hint at how bad the outside was, rather than show it to us, outside of a creepy montage, but that could also be the perfect way to ramp the stakes up a little for a second movie.

Why is he wearing his school uniform?

Why is he wearing his school uniform?

The Purge began running out of ideas with the home invasion thing. By the end of the movie, the characters were just wandering around the house, waiting for the next plot point to kick in. Fight sequences were played out, where you couldn’t help but wonder why the other masked killers weren’t rushing to help. I put up with this stagnant part of the film, but that means there are no excuses for repeating the same mistakes next time around.

Maybe someone doesn’t make it home in time for lockdown? If the writers do want to keep the Sandin family, maybe the daughter is out after hours and has to make it home through all of the creepy gangs ‘purging’. Maybe it could be a story about a vigilante, protecting the weak from the gangs. Hell, that way we could see more than one gang rampaging around America (maybe even a cameo from the mask people – I guess, I can allow that).

Basically, if we are going to get a Purge sequel, at the very least, please can we try and be smart about it. There are areas that still need to be explored, but I can already see future directors picking the wrong ones.