October 29, 2021
The overly derivative new chapter to the low-budget, high-profit horror franchise struggles to justify its existence
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin review – hit series returns with ho-hum horror
There’s an odd comfort to the release of a new Paranormal Activity film just in time for Halloween, a prime spot it owned for five years after the Saw franchise released its grip and (temporarily) bled out. The repetitive yet often ingenious formula made for a communal effective experience that was also commercially lucrative – the micro-budget films, along with two spin-offs, have made almost $900m worldwide – but diminishing returns and an ever-changing horror landscape led producer Jason Blum to claim that the series was done with 2015’s underperforming 3D chapter, Ghost Dimension, inactivity taking over..
Yet in the horror genre, nothing remains dead for long and with the resurrection of Halloween, Scream, Saw, The Exorcist and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the return of the lo-fi supernatural franchise was as inevitable as its debut on its new home – Paramount’s streaming platform. It’s a bold, if low-stakes move (the films usually cost under $5m to make) to eschew the big screen entirely, but on a Halloween weekend where big new releases are tougher sells for a horror-hungry crowd, it could lead to a decent audience. What they’ll be expecting from the rather huh-ly titled Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin might be rather different than what they end up getting though, a reboot with precious little in common with the films that have preceded it, just the title and the fact that there is some activity that is paranormal.
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