Unsurprisingly, the cheapo horror success The Purge, which earned $36.4 million on a $3 million budget this past weekend, will be getting a sequel. That was inevitable, pure profit is hard to resist. But what will a sequel for this movie look like, given its particularly ludicrous premise? Let's offer some suggestions.
For those unfamiliar with the setup of The Purge, here is a brief synopsis: In the year 2022, things are going pretty well in America. Crime is low and unemployment scarce, all supposedly owed to the annual Purge, a period of twelve hours when all crime, including murder, is legal. See, that half-day of unfettered freedom gets all the violent and bad urges out of Americans' systems, so the other 8,748 hours of the year can proceed peacefully. Of course that all goes haywire for one family, a wealthy clan that has made its money providing fortress-like home security systems for rich people who want to keep the Purge out of their homes. Chaos ensues, mayhem most foul goes down, and I guess we all learn some sort of lesson about America and crime and ill-gotten gains, or something.
Here's a SPOILER ALERT for those who don't want to know how the movie ends. Everyone ready? OK, here we go. The movie ends with the invaders repelled, but the patriarch, played by Ethan Hawke, is murdered for his Purge profiteering. The rest of the family is relatively OK, but dad's gone. So the sequel would, presumably, take up with different characters, right? I mean, are they going to subject the kids to another onslaught of humanity at its worst? Let's hope not. And let's assume that they'll have to up the ante somehow. Doing another straight-up Purge night gone wrong wouldn't really suffice. So they'll need to raise the stakes.
What they need is another terrible-idea-that's-just-so-crazy-it-might-work. Here are a few of those.
The Purge 2: Random Urge
To prevent the rich sealing themselves off for the twelve hour melee, the government decides not to give any warning when the Purge is going to start. People are minding their own business, wandering the supermarket or whatever, and bam, the air sirens go off and it's fight or flight. Sure a hell of a lot more people will be murdered, but that just means that the citizenry is ridding itself of more bad juju, right? And what a thrilling scene that would make, our hero or heroine milling about some shopping mall and all of a sudden a car comes crashing through the wall and it's bedlam. It's a reversal. Rather than the characters being stuck in a house, The Purge 2 is about characters trying to get into a house.
The Purge 2: Secret Surge
Purge day becomes individually assigned. Meaning, you see someone walking down the street with a bat, and you don't know if they're out on Purgesprunga, the date given to them in secret by the government, or if they're simply heading down to the baseball field to hit fungoes. There's no way to tell and that's the tension of The Purge 2! Maybe it's about a group of people trapped together and clearly it's someone's Purge day but no one knows whose, kind of like Clue except a metaphor for society somehow.
The Purge 2: Made You Purge!
Maybe they could go a completely different route and make The Purge 2 a comedy? Like a reality TV satire where they trick some unsuspecting boob into thinking it's the Purge and everyone is coming after them, but in truth they're all actors and it's just pretend. But then the end of the movie takes a dark and mordant turn, as the sap kills a bunch of people in what they think is self-defense. So it's a not-at-all-dated commentary on reality television and celebrity culture and the paparazzi and stuff. Just get some senior film studies major to write the script. The goal is to make these things cheaply, right?
The Purge 2: Purgeville Emerges
There could be a place where it's all-Purge all the time? Like a new Wild West, but maybe in Chicago or something. And someone has to go into Purgeville to rescue a friend or loved one or something? The Purge 2: Purge Town? Or they do the Purge at different times in different cities and one lone guy or gal travels from Purge to Purge for some reason. This is treading more into action territory than horror, but that's OK. The first Fast and the Furious was mostly about car racing. Now it's about dragging safes through city streets and look how we'll it's doing. The rich world of The Purge can exist in multiple genres.
The Purge 2: Dirge for Sunset
It turns out that Ethan Hawke's character didn't die, and nine years after the first Purge he and costar Lena Headey meet up again in Paris and walk and talk about life and relationships and it's all very wistful and thoughtful until another Purge begins and they have to run for their lives. Repeat again in another nine years, in Greece.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.