Author, poet, lawyer, former college football player, basic bro. I'm what you'd get if you crossed Nicolas Cage and Creed Bratton together
How a Purge movie in which people are given one night a year to cancel rather than kill each other, could work
The Purge is a film franchise which began in 2013 with the release of its first film in the series, The Purge. The movie’s premise is simple enough. At some point prior to the film, the United States went through a radical transformation. The new “Founding Fathers” implemented a program known as the “Purge”—a day each year in which citizens can do whatever they want without any legal repercussions.
Although it may seem like a stupid idea (because it is), it has somehow made the United States virtually crime-free, propelling the nation into a new era of unrivaled prosperity. I guess the notion is that because people’s baser instincts are not suppressed for one night, it releases the angst and tension they would otherwise keep bottled up. Sort of like how the pastor’s daughter from Footloose is incredibly wild due to living under her father’s strict religious upbringing. If her father just allowed her one night a year to dance, do drugs, and have carefree, unprotected sex, she would have been the paradigm of purity the other 364 days of year. At least, that’s what this movie’s logic suggests.
I decided it would be a fun exercise to slightly tweak the plot of this film. This hypothetical movie will be similar to the original Purge franchise except in one respect—instead an annual day of bloodshed and murder, it will be one in which citizens are allowed to delve into each other’s histories and cancel one another. So, how would this movie playout?
The film starts out like the original Purge film does, giving a quick synopsis about how we got to the point we did. The narrator, who for this movie will be Pauly Shore (The dude needs a job, okay?), tells us that many years ago, America experienced an intense period of hardship and instability. Essentially, a large segment of the population was so angry and self-loathing, that it began to form roaming, online mobs that went around “cancelling people.” Though this wasn’t the first time this had occurred in American history (Salem Witch Trials, Red Scare, etc.). The modern information age meant that one particular cause, long-term damage, with people losing jobs, friendships, and generally just being ostracized from society due to innocuous reasons.
The country was slowing unraveling. Thus, the new Founding Fathers came up with a novel solution. They would put a permanent stop to all this cancel culture nonsense. However, so as to prevent the mob from inflicting this much harm ever again, they allowed one day a year in which everyone would have the opportunity to delve into their peer’s history, online and otherwise, giving them free reign to shame and socially shun their neighbors. This annual day of reckoning would be known as ‘The Purge’.
We then meet the Hunt Family, consisting of Mike and his wife Lisa, along with their two children, Sammy, age ten, and Jessica, age fifteen. Mike is busy preparing for tonight’s Purge, ensuring that all the family’s information is sealed behind a fire wall and that all their electronic devices are disconnected from the web.
“Ugh, this is so lame.” Jessica complains, as she stares at her phone. “Dad, why can’t I stay at Mindy’s tonight? She is only a few blocks away. I mean, no one like even purges in this stupid neighborhood, anyway.”
“Because, Sweetie, we are all potential targets tonight. You wouldn’t want your entire future ruined because you decided not to take the Purge seriously for one night, would you?”
“Whatever,” She replies with annoyance.
She angerly walks off.
“Hey!” Mike yells after her, “I expect that phone to remain on airplane mode tonight! And no Wifi either!”
She keeps walking, not looking back.
“And doublecheck to make sure you deleted all TikTok videos which are over five years old. Things which may have been okay back then, may be sacrilegious now.”
Jessica disappears into the house, walking past her mother without even shooting her a glance.
“What’s wrong with her?” Asks Lisa.
“Oh, you know these kids,” Mike responds, “They think they are invincible. They think no one will try to cancel them during The Purge. But as we know, anyone can be cancelled on Purge night.”
The next scene shows the family sitting at the table eating dinner. A loud alert then blasts from their electric devices, interrupting their meals.
“ATTENTION: The annual Purge has now begun. All persons within the United States and its territories are now subject to cancel. Please be vigilant. May God bless America and our New Founding Fathers.”
Mike stands up.
“Everyone to the living room,” he orders. “Remember, no use of electronic devices the entire night, understood?”
The family then sits down to do something lame, like play “Candy Land” or some such nonsense, when they hear a thunderous banging at the door.
Mike jumps to attention.
“Who’s there!” he demands.
“Please, let me in!” a voice pleads. “They are coming for me. They’re trying to use facial recognition to figure out who I am and forage through my social media presence. Please, for the love of God, let me in!”
“Dad,” Sammy says, “we have to help him!”
“No, son. He’s on his own tonight.”
But before Mike can do anything, Sammy rushes towards the door and lets the stranger in, locking the door behind him.
Mike is furious and is about to scold Sammy when he hears another, softer knock. An ominous voice then utters.
Mike slowly approaches the door and through the peephole sees a man, flanked by three individuals.
“Pardon my intrusion, but a man entered your home earlier. As you know, tonight is the annual Purge, and we wish to engage in this festive occasion. For it is our right to Purge, and we shall Purge. We will make you a deal—give us the man and none of you will be harmed. But if you don’t…
The man outside his door then raises his phone.
“Let’s just say, all of us have our dirty little secrets; and believe me when I say that we are very good at finding them.”
The Purge refugee begs Mike not to send him back out.
“Please, sir! Don’t send me back out there! I just got this new job and I can’t afford to lose it!”
Mike grabs him by the shirt and starts motioning him towards the door.
“Please!” he continues, now sobbing, “I used to post on 4chan regularly! My life will be ruined if they find out what I posted!”
But Sammy stands in his father’s way, accompanied by Lisa and Jessica. Mike tries to get them to step aside, but they won’t budge.
“We can’t let him go out there, Dad.” Jessica says. “It’s not right!”
Mike sighs and finally acquiesces. He tells everyone to get their phones and get on Wifi.
“We need to be ready to fight back!” he bellows.
The Purgers eventually break in. They split up, scouring the house for their victims. But the family is ready for them, Home Alone style.
One of them sees Sammy and chases him, cornering the child in his room. The intruder removes his phone.
“Come out, little boy,” he ominously taunts, as he creeps through the room. “Show me your face. Come on. You may be young, but I know there’s dirt on you.”
But unbeknownst to him, Sammy snaps a picture of the man’s face and is able to find out who he is.
The Purger then approaches the closet; but before he can rip open the door, Sammy jumps out.
“Ah ha!” Sammy shouts, as he lifts his phone to the man’s face. Displayed on the screen is a tweet the man liked, which was tweeted by a dude whose grandfather once took a picture Strom Thurmond after he mistook for Gene Hackman.
Suddenly, the intruder’s phone begins to light up. He looks at his device.
“Dammit!” he yells as the angry comments come in.
“Ugh,” he moans, “Well played, kid.”
The Purger then exits the house.
The next scene then pans to Jessica, who is being chased by another invader. She is knocked to the ground; but just as he is about to capture a facial recognition image of her, she kicks his phone out of his hand, and it while it’s in the air.
“Give me my God damn phone back!” He barks as he reaches out, accidentally placing his hand on her thigh.
“Excuse me?!” she remarks, “You just put you hand on the leg of a fifteen-year-old girl.”
She then smiles, revealing her own phone, which has been secretly recording the entire time.
“And it was all caught on life stream, Bitch!”
The man’s phone begins to ring. Jessica answers it, then tosses it to the man.
“It’s for you.”
The man listens.
“No, no, no.” He pleads. “I didn’t mean…It was an accident…”
He hangs up the phone.
“Well, I guess my boss saw that, and now I’m fired from my job.”
“Sucks to suck, Loser!” Jessica gloats.
The man then stomps away.
Sammy is then able to take down the next Purger when he discovers a picture he posted of him in 2010 wearing a Drew Brees jersey.
Now, there is only one of the intruding Purgers left, their leader, the final Purger.
Then Mike faces the intruder. Both men stand ten yards apart from each other, motionless, their hands near their phones, which are slightly exposed from their right pockets, like something out of the western movie.
Mike then utters, “Draw!”
Dramatic music then plays, as both men grab their phones and begin scouring the web, attempting to find dirt on each other.
“I guess it was only fitting,” Mike comments as he swipes through the intruder’s social media history, “that it is coming down to the two of us. The best things always come in twos, after all.”
“Indeed,” his rival replies, “like the Sun and the Moon, salt and pepper.”
“Yeah,” says Mike, “Yin and yang, male and…” He pauses.
“Yes, male and female.” The intruder finishes, “because there are only two genders…Oh, shit!”
The Purger then glances up, wide-eyed, realizing what he just said.
“Hah!” Lisa exclaims, who had been hiding behind the sofa the entire time, secretly filming.
The intruder’s phone begins to endlessly chime. He hangs his head in defeat.
“It’s over,” ,e sobs. “It’s all over.”
He then scurries out of the house.
The family is now safe. And as they watch the sunrise, they hear the alert that this year’s Purge has finally ended. Although it was a traumatic evening, the experience has brought them closer together as a family.
© 2021 RMS Thornton