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  • Writer's pictureStrictly Films

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin; Grade: C

Well today was my first day of traveling across the country, as I made my first stop here in Chipley, FL… It’s near Tallahassee, FL. Not a bad first day, had some average BBQ at Skins and Bubba’s BBQ, if you’re ever in Chipley, FL… Not a half bad small local business restaurant. Hopefully I’ll get to my destination very soon, so my mother doesn’t keep repeating the same questions 50 times over... She’s not used to driving a truck in a straight direction 2,000+ miles. Until then: Let’s talk about a new Paranormal Activity movie?!?! They still make these?!

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin tells a story about a woman named Margot (Emily Bader), who has finally found her long lost biological family member thanks to the Internet. Margot was abandoned as a young child, as apparently according to her biological family member Samuel (Henry Ayres-Brown) her mother came from an Amish family. So Margot and her film crew explore a documentary opportunity, telling her own miraculous story while filming her roots in this ole Amish house and barn area. What was hoping for a feel good heartfelt journey, turns out to be Margot’s nightmare, as these Amish people maybe up to no good.

I’ve seen every single Paranormal Activity movie believe it or not. I’m not necessarily a fan of these films, however I feel my interest within these movies come from hoping to experience some bat shit crazy paranormal stuff. My favorite from the series is Paranormal Activity 3, my least favorite is probably everyone’s least favorite Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. Of course having another Paranormal Activity movie feels completely unnecessary, however how this series capped off… I’m sure the franchise would like a do over, I mean Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is an embarrassment.

This addition to the franchise comes from the film maker who made last year’s Underwater, so this film doesn’t have a random average joe behind the camera. I felt this new entry to the franchise t’was a MAJOR improvement from the last film, however this film can feel the woes from familiar tropes of this franchise.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin honestly is the best looking Paranormal Activity film of the entire franchise hands down. It honestly looks like an actual movie and not be this same ole bland home video recording look we’ve seen a thousand times. It could be all thanks to advancement in technology over the years, but I was very satisfied by how this film looked visually.

I enjoyed the fact this film took a new turn in the franchise, as we’re offered a different storyline followed an intriguing new location. I found the whole idea of dealing with a creepy Amish group, with a very unsettling setting of being in a freezing cold environment in Buffalo, NY to be a neat idea, it felt like a nice needed new change. I thought the finale was the best usage of horror in this entire film. The film delivers a fairly crafted special effect regarding the entity, as it also delivers a very bonkers like ending that was fairly entertaining.

I appreciate the fact this film was accurate towards the time period, regarding the pain in the ass. I like how everyone in the airport and outside of the airport was wearing a face mask, in New York it’s pretty common the citizens of that state follow the rules out in public. The driver whom was picking up Margot and her pals was freaking out about not having a mask on, but once they were all in the car… They all ditched the masks. I believe the sequence was supposed to be humorous, as following that scene we’re cut to a joke afterwards as the driver claims he caught the pain in the ass 5 times. Could it be that the sequence was a fair indication, that people only mask up because it’s a policy, not because people believe masking up actually works?! Who knows, but I found that scene funny and accurate.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin flaws comes within the Achilles heel of the franchise. The film features many loud and unnecessary jump scare noises, that do not lead in any chance of scaring anyone, only to annoy the audience. Some sequences feel awfully familiar to the other pervious films. Including walking around as nothing actually happens as you wait for something to happen or a sequence you’ve seen thousands of times, consisting of a certain character being taken by an entity, as the following day the certain character acts completely strange. Speaking of which: How come that certain character acted strange for little time and went back to normal later on?! That didn’t make sense. The big reveal of this film not only was pretty much predictable from the start, however the reveal when explained doesn’t make much sense.

Dale (Dan Lippert) the comedic relief character was honestly the worst character in the entire film. Sure he had one good comedic moment in the introduction of his character, however after that this character became increasingly annoying over the course of the run time. Nonstop bad joke after bad joke after bad joke… It just never ends with this guy.

Other than the finale for me: The horror element of this film felt very nonexistent for me. Not only it’s over usage of jump scares, but the way it tries to build up tension and try to make the audience unsettled was just not working for me at all.

Overall, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin was just ok. I’d give it a watch if you like these kind of movies, can be found on Paramount Plus. -Mitch Smietana

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