Found footage movies have always been a mixed bag in horror with the Paranormal Activity franchise bringing them out in full force due to not needing a big budget and only a few jump scares per film. While usually something not great and easily forgettable the films were a main stay in the genre. So upon the news that PA would be getting another film in the franchise and this would be straight to streaming I was intrigued but had low expectations. Those low expectations were met almost with disappointment still.
We follow Margot, who while filming a documentary, travels to a secluded Amish community after finding out her mother who gave her up is from there. Hoping to find out her history and what happens she tries to get answers from this community but soon starts to discover that not everything going on is normal.
The story here is fine and at least sets us up for something to happen. The snowy secluded Amish community is a fantastic area for this film to be set in and barely even scratches the surface of cool moments they could have had. Sadly though this film suffers from the same issues the franchise did and the genre itself did with there being way too much downtime. Almost more than the other films in the franchise we get more downtime here than needed with nothing even almost being hinted or given along the way. Endless dialog and set ups for nothing here until things start to go sideways.
Once things start going though the film picks up but never really reaches much in its climax. We get a handful of kills on screen, one of which is done in slow motion and looks fantastic (who is also a call back to earlier in the film), but nothing much aside from it. Our creature looks generic and doesn’t fit the franchises staple of ghost like entities. Which brings it to the point of this movie while supposedly being a fresh reboot of the series but also never feeling like a Paranormal Activity film. While those at least had the security and handheld footage feeling fresh and drawing in scares using them, this just being a documentary crew with handhelds leaves this feeling generic and lumped in with the thousand other films like it.
Sadly this film also does one of my most hated things in found footage films, an abrupt ending. While not as bad as 2014’s “The Devil Inside” which will likely forever hold the crowd for worst ending in found footage, this film isn’t much better. At the brink of everything turning to chaos and us believing something will happen the film ends, which is unfortunate given the likelihood that this film is never continued. I wouldn’t even mind it if the films moments leading up to it were good but they just never connected.
Sadly while Next Of Kin had its moments where greatness could occur it’ll be lumped into the stockpile of forgettable found footage horror films. The real question is will the next entry in the series continue this, go back to its root story, or steer off in another direction making this franchise a cluster of mediocre.