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.

7 thoughts on “3 Rules for Writing a Purge Sequel

  1. From the producers of Paranormal Activity (as is all horror films these days) The Purge tells the story of a near future were crime is at an all time low and unemployment stands at under 1% of the US population, to compensate for one night a year all crime (including murder) is legal for 12 hours allowing society some kind of release.

    The film revolves around the Sandin family who are confronted by a group of college students hunting a man on the night of the Purge who the family had allowed into their home after lockdown. The Purgers (lead by Rhys Wakefield) drastically try to break into the family’s home causing James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary (Lena Headey) to protect their children from the invaders in order to survive the night.

    The main problem with the film is the premise itself, whilst interesting is filled with flaws and holes that just make the whole idea ridiculous. Such as what happens to the serial killers and career criminals of this world? Do they just control their urges to kill or steal for the other 364 days until the next Purge, as well what if someone has a heart attack on the night of The Purge? Is it just a case of bad luck you chose the wrong night to need medical care?

    Despite the flaws of the premise, the film repeatedly ignores the possibilities of the premise, instead of exploring the ideas behind the Purge or the events that occur on the night of the Purge from different perspectives and situations. Instead the film settles for a typical home invasion story that although done well, is nothing we haven’t seen done in many other films. The Purge in the end seems to only be the premise of this film to stop the age old question of “Why don’t they just call the police?” in home invasion films.

    To the films credit it is quite subtle, there’s a running theme that the Purge is just an excuse for the upper classes to exterminate the poor, driven by all the attackers wearing prep school blazers and the person they are chasing wearing dog tags around his neck. The film also contains some strong performances, especially from Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Lord of War) and Lena Headey (Dredd, Game of Thrones) who carry the film throughout. The film also has a twist near the end which allows the audience to get inside the heads of the people during this night.

    That cant be said for the leader of the Purger’s played by Rhys Wakefield (Sanctum, Home and Away)whose performance is slightly cringe worthy, hes trying to be psychotic yet in control of the proceedings but it just comes across as a amateur dramatics’ version of The Joker. He just never seems like a really threat and just a creepy next door neighbour.

    The film also contains some bizarre and just plain weird set pieces, such as the families’ son who builds a spy camera on a chard baby doll on the top of a rhino tank from Warhammer 40,000. The thing looks like a demented contraption from Sid’s bedroom in Toy Story.

    Overall, The Purge is an OK home invasion film, there are moments of suspense and a couple of jump scares are effective. The wasted potential of the premise is the films main downfall which could have lead to a more effective and possible original film then what we got in the end.

    More about the movie you can also find it here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s