PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: NEXT OF KIN (2021) Reviews and overview

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Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is a 2021 American faux found-footage horror film and a reboot of the Paranormal Activity franchise.

Directed by William Eubank (Underwater; The Signal 2014) from a screenplay written by Christopher Landon (Freaky; Happy Death Day and its sequelScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseParanormal Activity: The Marked Ones).

Produced by Jason Blum and Oren Peli. Executive produced by Jenny Hinkey, Christopher Landon and Steven Schneider.

The Blumhouse Productions-Paramount Players co-production stars Emily Bader, Roland Buck III, Kyli Zion, Dan Lippert, Jill Andre, Henry Ayres-Brown, Wesley Han and Colin Keane.

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Our view:
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is a mostly dull attempt by a clueless major studio to resurrect a franchise that was already way past its sell-by date. The found-footage element here is all but given up with many scenes shot from a perspective that clearly no one would be filming.

Emily Bader’s lead character Margot queries everything in life like a clueless idiot (which becomes irritating), the supposed Amish society depicted is entirely unbelievable, there are no scares in the first hour… Eventually, there are some pretty intense elements to wake anyone up who hasn’t already dozed off. These aren’t enough to forgive the slow buildup but are at least more gripping than some previous Paranormal Activity sequel snoozers.

Other reviews:

” …this film makes little impact on a narrative front. Margot’s journey into her long-forgotten past is a road riddled with uninteresting cliches, with most audiences likely predicting the unceremonious twist from a mile away. A mix of stagnant dialogue and ineffective performances only highlights the narrative shortcomings further as the narrative leaves little to engage.” Battle Royale with Cheese

“The slow, steady folk horror tale gives way into a full-blown horror assault, filled with impressive set pieces and unsettling imagery. The mythology introduced is relatively satisfying, too. But for all of the new ideas that Landon and Eubank present, Next of Kin still stumbles into the trappings of the found footage subgenre that stretch plausibility at points. The lack of suspense and scares make these moments less forgiving.” Bloody Disgusting

Next of Kin plays it safe, returning to cult fears and demonic research previous sequels also pursued, trying to inspire an Ari Aster-like feeling of dread as secrets are revealed. And Eubank doesn’t respect the found footage aspect of the brand name, slipping in some stylistics that gives the feature a video game look at times. If you’ve seen the other Paranormal Activity movies, you’ve seen Next of Kin…” Blu-ray.com

“A worse cinema sin than being bad is being boring. I’ll forgive some flaws when a film pushes its chips ‘all in’ on something kind of crazy and Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin does exactly that. This chaotic conclusion can’t salvage the mediocrity of the majority of the movie, but it’s better than nothing, and I’ll take bonkers over bland any day of the week.” Culture Crypt

“While it may not be exactly the movie that die-hard Paranormal Activity fans may be expecting, the fact that Next of Kin plays around with expectations in such a clever way here works in the film’s favor, ultimately delivering up a creepy and unsettling viewing experience that certainly opens up the franchise to all sorts of new possibilities, which is pretty darn awesome…” Daily Dead

Next of Kin tricks viewers into thinking that it’s a slow horror-thriller until one gets to the climax and then all hell breaks loose and it becomes a nonstop action fest till the end. Though still with the usual horror film clichés, it is a refreshing take on the iconic franchise […] Pretty crazy.” Fiction Horizon

“…painfully boring storytelling […] generic characters, but there are quite a few scary moments during the finale. In that respect, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin probably would’ve worked better as a 30-minute short. However you slice it, nothing about the story comes close to justifying taking forever to get to the point.” Flickering Myth [recommended read]

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is creepy almost from the first moment. Also, there are little elements throughout that should make you jump or wince. This is not all about jump scares. It’s also very much about things being extremely uncomfortable in other ways. And sure, you’ll guess certain developments, but it feels very much like you’re supposed to.” Heaven of Horror

“Keeping in line with previous Paranormal Activity entries, Next of Kin stays true to its found footage roots with a funny but workable indie documentary premise. The result is a breezy but chilling romp through a haunted rural farmhouse, seen through extremely high-resolution handheld camera work. Like most studio horror movies these days, it looks a lot better than it should, and slaps a bit less.” IndieWire

“The level of lazy knows no bounds. This feels nothing like a Paranormal Activity movie—attempts to make it feel more like Midsommar, or any number of modern cult movies, are uninspired. There is no excuse for this level of filmmaking, or insulting the audience as if they have not seen a generic cult or possession movie a million times over by now.” Josh at the Movies

” …Paranormal Activity Next of Kin doesn’t have any genuine scares to keep us busy, it throws in stupid jump scares to shock us every now and then. It’s just so annoying and infuriating to watch […] The last few minutes are somewhat decent and have some action and gore. It is the epitome of horror though? Most definitely not. However, it’s better than nothing.” Leisure Byte

“While Next of Kin has no narrative connection to its predecessors, it doesn’t find any interesting new trails to explore either as a through-the-lens-of-another exercise or in its chosen subcategory of religious horror. That’s particularly disappointing given that it was written by Christopher Landon…” Rue Morgue

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is far from the franchise’s best installment, but it’s also not the worst. It tries to breathe new life into the series, but it actually redefines it. Not everything works, but there are solid concepts in the third act that just need more time to linger and develop. Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is a bit of a missed opportunity to really go all-out, as this reboot is too indistinct.” Showbiz CheatSheet

“…the action-heavy finale, reminiscent of Eli Roth’s The Last Exorcism and Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn, stretches the found footage laws and leaves us with an ending bound to divide. That all said, Landon’s screenplay thrives best in the subtleties, its mythology building and some strong scares reliant on that heard but not seen, barring glimpses.” Starburst

“Next of Kin” is like “Midsommar” meets “Breaking Amish” meets “The Blair Witch Project: Fifty Shades of Dark.” […] By the climax, though, you can feel the film shooting the works and petering out at the same time.” Variety

Release date:
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is available for streaming on Paramount+ from October 29, 2021.

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Background:
Co-producer Jason Blum has said: “Paramount wanted to continue Paranormal Activity, I probably would have left it alone. So they wanted to continue it, but I thought if they were gonna continue it, you gotta – it was tired, there was no way to continue the road that we’d been down. So I really encouraged all the creative people involved to think of something new.

A lot of people who are going to go see the new Paranormal Activity were three years old when the first Paranormal Activity came out, so they don’t even know from those older movies. I thought if you were going to re-do it, you better really re-do it, not try and expand what we did all those years ago.”

Cast and characters (confirmed):
Emily Bader … Margot
Roland Buck III … Chris
Dan Lippert … Dale
Henry Ayres-Brown … Samuel
Tom Nowicki … Jacob
Jill Andre … Lavina
Alexa Shae Niziak … Mary
Colin Keane … Eli
Ari Notartomaso … Clara
Michael Short … Elder
Al Garrison … Mailman
Alejandro Gabriel Gomez … Auto Shop Clerk
Gerald Webb … Sheriff
Gunner Wright … Deputy
Emerald Rose Sullivan … Kendra
Wesley Han … Jeremy

Filming locations:
New York state

Shooting title (to avoid publicity):
Red Oak

Teaser trailer:

Trailer:

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MOVIES and MANIA rating:

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