A perfect combination of “The Blair Witch Project” and the popular horror game “Outlast 2,” the seventh installment of the “Paranormal Activity” franchise, “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin,” was released Oct. 29, 2021, on Paramount Plus.
The franchise isn’t just about cameras catching ghosts and a family being haunted. The plot of all seven films surrounds a witch coven and their hunt for first-born males in order to form an army of possessed men for a demon, dubbed as “Toby,” in exchange for wealth and power.
“Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” the last installment before “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin,” leaves off with Toby taking a human form.
However, “Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin” is a completely different film, as it brings us on a tour through a remote Amish farm and the community that resides there.
Margot, played by Emily Bader, is a young woman on a mission to find out about her birth mother. She learns her mother abandoned her after being shunned by her Amish community.
After using an ancestry website, Margot is brought to her birth family by her cousin, Samuel Baylor, played by Henry Ayres-Brown. They are joined by a filmmaking team, consisting of Chris, played by Roland Buck III, and Dale, played by Dan Lippert.
This movie doesn’t fit into the franchise whatsoever.
The cinematography differs extremely from the earlier “Paranormal Activity” films we’ve grown to love. Rather than cameras being set up around the house, the seventh film is filmed solely in a documentary style with the characters holding the cameras themselves.
Not only that, but viewers can expect that ghosts don’t ever appear in the film or make their way into the plot. That doesn’t mean there aren’t frightening moments in the film, however.
The setting is more unsettling than your average suburban home. It’s a lot darker and more evil than the first movies.
When Margot tells a little girl on the farm her mother used to live there, the young girl insists the mother is still present, sending chills down Margot and the viewers’ spines.
“She’s still here,” the girl says. “She doesn’t like you.”
Not only do we get to see creepy children, but also a disturbing church in the middle of the woods that looks like it hasn’t been touched since the pilgrims landed there.
If you enjoy elements like these, you will probably enjoy this film. If you are looking to reminisce on the original “Paranormal Activity” movies, this may not be the movie for you.
With a staggering drop from the original film’s 83% rating on Rotten Tomatoes to a measly 21% for “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin,” it’s safe to say critics and audiences aren’t too keen on the reboot.
However, we cannot let our love of the old films stop us from enjoying the new ones. After the disappointment that is “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension,” the change of atmosphere may have been needed.
While “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin” does fall below the audience’s hopes, it can make for a great stand-alone movie once removed from the expectations of the first couple of films.
Not only does it establish itself from its previous films, but it also has a brilliant ending that makes you want to see a sequel. It is a perfect setup for the continuation of the franchise and includes even more sinister cinema for us to enjoy.
So, if you want to see ghosts in the suburbs terrorizing middle-class families, go watch the first three films. But if you need more of a change, watch the seventh film set in one of the creepiest farms known to man.