Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021) Review

Horrorific content by christina on November 23rd, 2021 | Movie Review | Possession, Cursed, Cult, Demon, Found Footage, Paranormal Proof

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Margot, a young woman who was abandoned by her mother as a baby, travels to a secluded Amish community with a documentary film crew seeking answers about her mother and extended family.

Naturally, any time a franchise this famous gets a new chapter, it’s big news that gets everyone talking, and this was no less the case when news of Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin hit the scene. But is this latest chapter worthy of being included alongside the rest of the series, or would you be better off just re-watching your favorite entries one more time? Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is directed by William Eubank. It stars Emily Bader, Roland Buck III, Kyli Zion, Dan Lippert, and Wesley Han.

The activity is reborn.

Paranormal Activity Next of Kin Review

At this point, Oren Peli’s 2007 found-footage masterpiece Paranormal Activity is nothing short of a classic. So whether you love found footage as a filming concept or hate it, the original Paranormal Activity and its seven sequels are practically required watching if you consider yourself a horror fan.

This seventh entry into the Paranormal Activity sequence is the story of a young woman named Margot (Bader). As an adoptee, she’s always wanted to know what her original family was like. And now that she’s recently found out she was abandoned at birth by a member of an Amish community, she’s bent on visiting that community to retrace her genetic lineage. However, she also decides to make a documentary about her adventure, so she invites her boyfriend and a camera-wielding friend along for the ride.

Of course, Margot’s arrival and subsequent stay at the 200-year-old Baylor farm don’t quite go as planned. (This is a Paranormal Activity film, after all.) Not only is the farm as isolated as one would expect in Amish country, but it quickly becomes apparent that something else isn’t right, either. To begin with, there are the strange noises coming from Margot’s mother’s former room right over Margot’s own. And there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the entire community, including the residents of the Baylor farm, are involved in some disturbing cult-like activity.

Now, the franchise’s previous installment (formerly considered to be the final one) came out six years prior. Plus, this entry was also billed as a soft reboot, so it makes sense that it might feel a bit different from the other films. But Next of Kin feels almost too different. It’s not just a stylistic thing, either.

The entire plotline of this installment feels utterly unrelated to the rest of the films in the series. In fact, it’s hard for even diehard fans to detect the connection, which leaves you feeling like this film probably started out as an independent standalone film and wound up repackaged as a Paranormal Activity film later on. That theory is only further supported by the way Next of Kin barely counts as a found footage film, as it’s not always obvious who’s holding the camera or clear how something’s being captured. When you have to ask that question in the first place, something’s wrong.

However, beyond those issues, this is a reasonably watchable folk horror film. There are plenty of genuinely unsettling scenes that will send a chill down your spine, and Eubank does a great job of creating an appropriately uneasy atmosphere. Even if you do wind up asking yourself exactly how the events of this film relate to the events of the previous films, you still feel invested in finding out what happens to Margot and company.

Worth Watching?

So, what’s the final verdict on Next of Kin? It’s a good film with a lot to its credit, so it’s worth seeing. Just don’t expect it to feel like any of the other films in the Paranormal Activity sequence, because it absolutely doesn’t. So check it out for sure, but keep your expectations in check.

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