PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: NEXT OF KIN (2021)
Margot (Emily Bader) is a young filmmaker who was abandoned at birth, but now has found some blood relatives. They are Amish and Margot decides to document reuniting with her family and travels to Amish country with her two friends/crew Chris and Dale (Roland Buck III and Dan LIppert). When she gets to the community village, she finds there is something strange going on, both in the farmhouse and concerning her long-lost mother. The longer they stay, the more escalated the strange activity gets and the more Margot starts to feel something sinister is happening there.
Found footage flick is directed by William Eubank (Underwater) from a script by Paranormal Activity series veteran Christopher Landon. There is no connection to the original series and will probably disappoint those looking for a closing chapter on Katie’s story, or some sort of tie-in. No Toby either. It’s the most visually interesting of the series, with its snowy Amish countryside settings, old farmhouses and creepy churches giving atmosphere. The first half is more of the same with things going bump in the night, the traditional jump scares, ominous footsteps and doors opening by themselves. It switches gears and really ramps up in the second half, taking the action to different spooky locations and leading up to a creepy, disturbing last act that culminates in a bloody and bonkers finale. There are some actual scares here and the stuff set in the caverns under the abandoned church is quite creepy, though reminiscent of the finales of Adam Wingard’s Blair Witch and The Taking of Deborah Logan. It might be the bloodiest of the seven flicks, so far, with a lot of violent moments and some gore. The cast are fine, with Emily Bader making a solid heroine and Tom Nowicki giving a spooky performance as Jacob, the family patriarch. If you are a fan of the original films, it rates among one of the better sequels and you’ll probably like the mix of familiar and new. If you are not a fan of this franchise, it probably won’t win you over. Definitely worth catching if you like this series or found footage flicks in general. Available for streaming on Paramount+.