Paramount+’s newest addition to the Paranormal Activity universe promised the rebirth of the ghostly activity. A complete retooling of the mythos of the first six movies combined with the same found-footage creepiness we have come to expect. While Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin isn’t the scariest movie in the library, it is by no means the worst. Although the film drags a bit in the middle with whole periods of anticlimatic stillness punctuated only by eerie old ladies slicing themselves with a potato peeler and musical dinner performances filled with jarring table knocking, the final harrowing act is worth the wait. Did we need another Paranormal Activity? Maybe not, but I’m willing to dive back into a world filled with malevolent spirits, grainy cam views, and creaking doors. Here’s everything you need to know about Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin.
The seventh film in the franchise features Margot(Emily Bader), a young woman searching for her birth family. She was abandoned as an infant and has managed to track down her biological family in Amish country. So, along with Chris(Roland Buck III) and comedy relief Dale(Dan Lippert), she sets out to make a documentary(doesn’t everybody) about her long-lost family. But, of course, right after arriving, semi-strange things begin happening, and there is a fair amount of wide-eyed gawking at things like milk cows and squealing pigs. These strange events don’t deter the trio of filmmakers, though, and they keep right on filming even when everything screams at them to run like hell. But, unfortunately, by the time they finally consider leaving, it is too late, and they learn that this Amish family isn’t as Amish as they seem.
What happens at the end?
The night before Margot and Chris’ final night on the farm, something comes for Margot that growls, snarls, and throws her into her camera. Earlier that day, they had entered the church they had been warned away from. This is where the family had been going each night when they claimed to be hunting bears. The church has strange symbols and a deep well hidden under the rectory. It also has the word Asmodeus written in one of the symbols. The following day after the attack, she is nearly catatonic and bleeding profusely. The community “doctor” diagnoses her as having an intense menstrual cycle and tells the boys to let her rest.
It seems the family is not Amish but the last line of defense against the demon Asmodeus. Women of the family have to sacrifice their lives to contain the beast and keep it from escaping into the world. Men aren’t strong enough to stop the demon, and thus it is left to women to hold the demons in their bodies to safeguard the world. Margot’s mother left her trying to spare her this fate. Her mother is the creature that climbs out of the well and kills Dale, and attacks Margot and Chris. Jacob had been keeping tabs on her and knew everything about her. She was lured to the farm by the family to take her rightful place as the next keeper of the demon. Only Margot’s family line can possess Asmodeus, and when they become possessed, they cease to be who they were before.
Chris finds Margot in the bottom of the well mid ritual performed to move the demon from one body to her. Before the ceremony is completed, Chris disturbs the symbol keeping the demon in the well, and Dale rescues them both. The trio runs for their car. Dale is killed, and Chris and Margot manage to escape after a tricky bit of running and dead body rummaging. They drive off, leaving hell on earth as neighbors attack each other and buildings burn.
When the police arrive, he finds Samuel making sounds like a baby crying in the single most disturbing scene in Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin. He makes two policemen shoot themselves in the head with a simple look and drives off into the night, presumably to destroy the world with Asmodeus possessing him.
Who is Asmodeus?
The titular Big Bad is a demon who is the Prince of All Demons. Most scholars agree that Asmodeus is derived from Aeshma-daeva. He is a wrathful demon who appeared in Persian Zoroastrianism around the 9th century BCE. He is a nasty demon who is as calculating as he is powerful. The Jewish and Christain faiths later renamed him Asmodeus. The demon from the Jewish Book of Tobit is often depicted as having multiple heads on a man’s body riding a winged lion with a dragon head. It is quite a picture. In the apocryphal book, he is in love with a beautiful virgin, Sarah, which is the name of Margot’s biological mother.
He can possess anyone he wants and can appear as anyone or anything he wishes. Asmodeus specializes in lust and greed. Since only women from Margot’s line can control the demon, and she is on the run, the world is now screwed. Samuel is young and strong and will be a suitable vessel for the demon as long as he chooses to use him. Our final shot is of Samuel, now Asmodeus. He is an unstoppable force, and there is no one left but Margot equipped with the ability to contain him.
How does Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin relate to the other films?
The short answer is regardless of some loose ties to demons and the found footage angle; this newest movie has nothing to do with the rest. It appears to be a reset of the surprisingly detailed story told in the first six movies. I’m assuming from the way the film ended; the hope is this new narrative will be a way to extend the story for years to come with an endless supply of new faces leading the charge. Of course, that’s assuming they can figure out a way to rationalize more ignorant filmmakers putting their lives at risk for footage instead of running for the hills.
Paranormal Activity: Next Of Kin has enough to offer, particularly in the final thirty minutes, to make it a worthy addition to the series. I’m not convinced the Amish demon cult angle is enough to keep fans coming back for more, but at least this one brings something new to the story and the snowy, isolated setting is as gorgeous as it is unforgiving. You can stream it right now on Paramount+.
As the Managing Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre entertainment. I grew up with old-school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. My work can be found here and Travel Weird, where I am the Editor in Chief.