'Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin' Review: Subtle jump scares but not a solid horror
'Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin' is an upcoming American-found footage film of the supernatural horror genre, and is the 7th successful installment of the Paranormal Activity series.
The film stars Emily Bader as Margot, Roland Buck III as Chris, Dan Lippert as Dale, Henry Ayres-Brown as Samuel, and Tom Nowicki as Jacob. The 7th installment is produced by Jason Blum and created by Oren Peli, with Christopher Landon writing the script, and William Eubank being the film's director.
To start off, Margot's decision for an overnight stay in an Amish country farmhouse to reconnect with her roots seems a tad overambitious and a rather poorly thought plan, if we're being honest. 'Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin' is the seventh and the latest chapter in the hit horror franchise, and the movie really starts to gain its momentum towards the second half; with the first half throwing quite predictable hints as is in any horror movie. So brace yourselves to power through this one, since the seemingly slow movie throws you off guard with a last-minute twist!
'Next of Kin' holds its focus on Margot (played by Emily Bader), a woman who's adopted, has always been curious about her backstory, and happened to connect with her biological family through genetic testing. Her journey is to know more about her biological mother and her roots, so when she matches with a man named Sam (played by Henry Ayres-Brown), who took the genetic test during puberty, she didn't have to think twice about meeting him and backpacking to the Amish country house. When the team of four are finally allowed to make themselves comfortable in the colonial farmhouse (after initially being turned away) and are taken in by the Amish family, Margot is almost instantly drawn by their simple way of living.
As is the grind with all of the 'Paranormal Activity' beginnings, the latest one is quite exciting too, as it first starts off, making it seem like a good plot for an ideal horror storyline. The result of the documentary is straight-up bone-chilling because the worst happens when you least expect it to; jump scares, faces staring back on the window, and all. It's definitely what you'd call "one with all the works".
From the very start, what's a definite given is that the movie is highly respectful of the Amish culture, its tradition, and practices, much before we are revealed about the big picture; the devil-worshipping cult!
The movie is shot by Margot’s friend Chris (played Roland Buck III), who is taking this opportunity to make an elaborate and well-told documentary about Margot’s exploration of her roots. Our only source of some much-need laughs and giggles throughout the movie is from the sound guy, Dale (played by Dan Lippert), a 6 foot something being, who is quite eccentric but always jovial in nature.
Jacob (played by Tom Nowicki) is the eldest at the house and definitely makes the cut of an overall creepy old man, with his white beard and long hair, which adds a mysterious vibe to him, leaving us to wonder if he's got other secrets up his sleeve.
Margot, being the curious Tom that she is, explores the attic above her room, which she was told belonged to her mother, Sarah. While leafing through the vanity, Margot finds an old box with Sarah's handwritten letters; describing the people of the said household as a cult.
Although 'Next of Kin' builds up the mystery of where Margot really comes from, it kind of feels that the filmmakers' snoozed with their imagination and missed a classic opportunity, by just a mark. Despite the movie's name and synopsis, 'Next of Kin' fails to throw light on Margot's bloodline and her mom, and instead leads her to a cult of devil worshippers.