Hollywood’s next obsession needs to be making really dark movie versions of these popular mobile games

Hollywood has a tendency to leap on any vaguely popular phenomenon and shove it in the meat-grinder that is the modern movie industry. Yet there’s one niche they haven’t quite cornered. I’d pay good money to see a dark movie about Pokemon Go where twee creatures threaten to rip your throat out in the wild. Or a flick centred around something as innocuous as Clash of Clans (which really has an abyss of doom and sorrow for a heart). It’s a money machine waiting to happen. I’ve written some humble pitches for movies based on the secretly grim mobile games lurking in your pocket. After I’m done with them, you’ll think twice over smiling at the simplicity of Candy Crush Saga. 

Pokemon GO

Don’t switch off your phone. Don’t turn off the app. If you feel your phone vibrate, run. Somehow the pokemon have figured out how to get into our world from the app, and in the harsh light of reality they are not cute at all. As if furious that they’ve been stuck in our phones and consoles for so long, they’re now out for blood. Gyms have been all but forgotten, now monuments to humankind’s arrogance. Charmanders across the country are setting buildings on fire. Rattatas swarm over people, dogs, even other pokemon, eating them alive. Even the pidgeys which were so common on the Pokemon Go app fly around in flocks, nose-diving into anyone they see on the streets. The only way to avoid these childhood terrors is to have the Pokemon Go app on your phone, and use it to track the locations of the bloodthirsty creatures. But one day Tom stumbles upon one of the last working pokestops, uncovering the mighty power of the pokeballs, and a single egg. Miraculously, each pokemon he catches in the app disappears in real life. He is the last hope for humanity but he’ll have to be careful. The longer it takes and the more pokeballs he uses, the closer the pokemon gets to sniffing him out. Unbeknownst to him, in the darkness of his backpack, his egg is close to hatching. Will it give birth to another monster - or a friend?

Candy Crush Saga

It all started as a simple factory tour, meant to reassure investors that the Candy Co. could withstand the sudden fall in revenue after bags of their candy exploded without warning. Curiously, those filled with mixed candy weren’t affected. But no one questioned it. They should have paid attention to the groaning walls around them and the straining crates of categorized treats. Once they noticed it, it was too late. Being covered in a landslide of sweets is a dream come true for most kids, but the reality is much more gruesome. The massive rush of brightly coloured sugar suffocated factory workers, unlucky investors, and corporate suits, regardless of age, gender, or wealth. The latest batch of liquid sugar had been spiked with a volatile chemical compound, at risk of exploding if two sweets of the same type come in contact with each other. Now only a small group of people are left alive in the factory, struggling to escape by carefully detonating groups of candy to clear a route out of the sweet-smelling deathtrap. Along the way accusations are thrown around about who sabotaged the Candy Co., and why. Outside the news vans have already come up with a name for this disaster: the Candy Crush Saga. 

Temple Run

You can’t stop to catch your breath. You can’t jump out of the way. All you can do is run. Each year, one citizen tries to steal the golden idol from the temple to free the land from the grasp of the ever-encroaching jungle. Each year it grows more, vines reaching outwards and swallowing houses, skyscrapers, roads - and people. The more attempts that are made, the faster it intrudes into the civilised world. Although it seems simple at first, the demon monkeys loping after each intrepid citizen give chase until they’re caught, with each ravaged body morphing into a golden diamond. As if to taunt new runners, they’re piled along the well-trodden path that leads to the temple. Usually avoided as they’re the last that remains of so many brave sprinters, one boy steps onto one as he flees, the breath of the twisted monkeys hot on his neck. Suddenly reinvigorated, the pain in his legs ebbs away and his stamina replenishes. Yet with each diamond he consumes, the dead runner’s memories flood into his mind, their last moments reverberating in his ears. Can he outrun the demons while also escaping the haunting presence of the dead?

Clash of Clans

The land is cursed with graves, loss, and pain from the ceaseless attacks on villages and towns everywhere. Once the armies have fought to the death, a victor emerges from amongst the battered buildings. The tower at the centre of the settlement they fought so hard over shudders before collapsing into a pile of rubble. Weary, the barbarians, archers, and wizards gaze at its ruins. Why were they sent to fight? Pushed forward by a mysterious compulsion which some attribute to gods watching from the skies, they have no option but to obey. Until one clan suddenly develops free will. They can refuse these invisible commands. They can stop fighting each other, and start fighting the gods. Instead of tearing down towers they start to build them stronger, which refuse to fall even after battles have been fought around them. Each unbreakable tower spreads this free will, but not everyone chooses to rally against the gods. Some clans see them as glorious generals who lead them to victory and build them their own impenetrable defenses in return. One final battle is on the horizon. It will determine whether the clans trust in the higher powers, or decide their destiny for themselves.

Farmville 2: Country Escape

Sustainable living at first seemed like a dream. People gladly flocked to the lush countryside after over-population in the cities led to the promise of their own farms for those who left the busy hustle and bustle. But all was not as it seemed. Crops they had worked furiously hard on mysteriously disappeared right in front of their eyes. The farmers go hungry every single night. Attempts to cling onto the crops fail miserably, and all the time their bellies are rumbling, new buildings are erected on their scenic land, built by invisible hands. The only way they can rebel is to stop growing the delicious vegetables which taunt them every day, to refuse to till the soil, and to secretly chart a course back to the city. But before they escape they need to find out where their crops are going, and who’s stealing them - and some are whispering about whether they could be stopped. It’s up to the new farmers to decide whether they want to stay and reclaim their land, or retreat back to the city where life is just as hard. Farmville 2: Country Escape tells the story of their fight for justice and their bid for freedom.

Agar.io

A virus has devastated the human race. Characterised by massive growth, any person afflicted with it finds themselves doubled over with huge abdominal pains as their organs battle to envelop and swallow each other. Their bloated bodies take on a mind of their own, gorging themselves on anything they can reach: wood, metal, flesh. Scientists have quarantined themselves in their labs, going without sleep to try to find a cure. Under their microscopes they observe the activity in each blood sample taken from the infected. Circular blobs float through the plasma. With a shock, it gradually dawns on the lead scientist that each blob grows according to the size of the cell it just consumed. Soon only two cells are left, and after a fierce fight, one comes out triumphant. As long as the artificially-constructed antibiotic can win the same duel after being injected to a test subject’s blood stream, there is hope for the human race. But how long will that hope last? 

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