After a six-year hiatus, producers Jason Blum and Oren Peli return to the world of the paranormal in Paramount +'s Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin. Christopher Landon, who previously wrote Paranormal Activity 2, Paranormal Activity 3, Paranormal Activity 4, and Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, also returns to the franchise. Initially, 2015's Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension was the planned final film in the franchise.
This Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin not only serves as the seventh installment in the franchise but also as a reboot/stand-alone sequel. Her mom and the Amish community abandoned Margot (Emily Bader) as a child. Through the magic of the internet, Margot was recently discovered by her cousin Samuel (Henry Ayres Brown). Seeing a possible opportunity, Margot and her boyfriend Chris (Roland Buck III) decide it's time for Margot to discover her roots.
Dale (Dan Lippert), a documentary filmmaker, follows Margot as she heads to the secluded Amish community in the hopes of meeting and learning about her long-lost mother and extended family. Following a string of strange occurrences and discoveries, she soon realizes this community that had welcomed them into their home, might be hiding something sinister.
I remember hearing about the original Paranormal Activity in 2009 and anxiously awaiting the film's release. My wife and I saw the original film during the original demand campaign before the hype machine took over. Paranormal Activity didn't appease the horror fans, and I had it as one of the worst of 2009. However, the film's sequel won me over, and I became invested in the franchise.
Sad to say, though, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin does nothing worthy to get the franchise back on track after the lukewarm response to 2015’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. For starters, while the film does have a prefix title of Paranormal Activity, it’s clear that Christopher Landon wrote this as a stand-alone film. The studio likely got involved and saw dollar signs by slapping the Paranormal Activity tag on the film.
I mean, honestly, its Halloween weekend, and seeing that the film is streaming, Paramount+ should have just had this one as a stand-alone film. In the role of our heroine, Emily Bader doesn't carry her first lead role well at all. I will credit Roland Buck III and Dan Lippert though, as they fare much better and do what they can with the mundane script.
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin also suffers from terrible pacing, which is never a good sign of a ninety-five-minute movie. The script also fails to build any tension and isn't scary in the slightest. The only thing I will give the filmmakers credit for is slow-motion during one of the death scenes.
If Paramount+ hoped to reboot a once successful horror franchise, they quickly failed with Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.
Final Grade : F