Horror Movies

Spoiler Free Review of Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

I was a bit weary of this next Paranormal Activity movie. Usually when you get past two or three installments of a series, the quality is not as good and the story gets stretched too thin. For Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin, my friends and I went in expecting to make fun of it, which did happen at a couple points. Although, we weren’t expecting much, I tried to go in with an open mind.

Screenshot taken by Melissa Rothman from Youtube, all rights reserved to Paramount Pictures, 2021

This film, directed by William Eubank, follows Margot (Emily Bader), Dale (Dan Lippert), and Chris (Roland Buck III) as they try to find answers to Margot’s past. Margot recently learned she was related to an Amish family. Her mother abandoned her when she was a baby at a hospital and her search for answers brought her to the countryside and an off-the-grid lifestyle. As you can guess, not all is as it seems and things get weird. Then, chaos ensues and the movie ends. Much like the rest of the film franchise. 

Without further ado, let’s get into my spoiler free review of Paranormal: Next of Kin. 

SETTING

I must admit I really wanted to watch this and review it because it was filmed as part of Buffalo Film Works, which is a filming studio located in Buffalo. NY, my hometown. Seeing one of the opening scenes taking place in the airport here, was surreal. I had the same feeling when seeing familiar sights in A Quiet Place 2. Seeing locations you know  makes the situation more real, especially when then film is shot as a documentary style. It was also a fresh take to have the setting be isolated, where help wasn’t close by. 

ACTING

I thought the acting was at par with what you could expect from a film like this. Most of the actors seem to have not been in the industry long. There is a lot of potential for growth in acting talent. It wasn’t terrible, but it could have also been better. There was a character that felt like he was supposed to be the comedic relief, but it came off more as annoying. A few scenes to be over acted, like it was meant to be comedic or making fun of the life of Amish people. For example, when Margot and her film crew arrive at the farm of Sam, her long lost relative, they all get overly excited about the cows and pigs, like they had never seen animals before. It felt out of place and strange. 

STORY

This story was more believable than the rest of the movies had. A bunch of people in the middle of nowhere, doing weird things, and even the locals don’t like them? Sounds like a lot of true crime documentaries I have seen about cults. It felt like a more plausible story than the original movie. Though, I supposed with horror movies you have to have suspension of disbelief. Although the movie’s plot felt more realistic, it did feel disjointed and disconnected from the other films in the series. The way the movie was shot was different as it gaver us wider angles due to the trio having a whole set of equipment. 

**SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD* At one point Chris was teaching the younger kids on the farm about the camera and made a point to tell them about the slow motion feature that allows it to capture what the human eye couldn’t see. The slow motion was never brought up again and only ever used one other time. This was a lost opportunity. This element could have been used throughout the movie to be able to show us things that we couldn’t see with our eyes, but when slowed down more clues were given. That would have been such a new element to see incorporated into a movie like this. 

Overall it felt like there were too many elements crammed into one plot and none of them had an opportunity to be fleshed out and really solidified as a foundation to a story. 

SCARY VS. SUSPENSE 

While the movie had the element of the paranormal and contained a few jump scares, I do not know if I could classify it as a scary movie. It was more suspenseful to me. There were few elements that screamed paranormal to me and more features that screamed “serial killer cult.” I almost want to label this a true crime story with a slightly spooky element. I wanted to be scared more and I felt disappointed that there was a lack of scares. 

CONTENT

There are some content warnings for this film. There are sounds of animals being killed, there is animal mutilation shown after the fact, and there is blood. There is a website you can check for more specific details, if you wish to know ahead of time. I have used it multiple times and have avoided movies that would cause me upset. I didn’t for this movie until i got into it for the sake of trying to remain surprised. 

Aside from that, I got an icky feeling from the way it gave the Amish community a bad name, in a way. Like stated above there were some moments that felt as if there was little pokes at making fun of the way they lived. It was sort of distasteful in my eyes. Though, I could have been reading more into this than needed. So, if you watch, let me know what you think! 

My overall rating is 4/10

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