Spoiler-Free Review of “Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin” on Paramount+: Found Footage Folk Horror

**This is a spoiler-free review so feel free to read on!**

“She’s still here…”

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin premiered on October 29th 2021 and is currently available to stream on Paramount+. The found footage horror film stars Emily Bader, Roland Buck III and Dan Lippert. It runs for approximately an hour and thirty-eight minutes.

Abandoned as a baby, a young woman named Margot discovers that she has relatives living in an Amish community, prompting her to create a documentary film to learn more about her secretive family.

Here is the trailer:

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin attempts to continue the popular franchise with a new story, but does it do enough to earn a watch? Let’s find out…

The Pros:

Images courtesy of Paramount+

Leads up to real moments of intensity…

The last part of the film is actually really intense and I couldn’t stop watching. I witnessed a lot of terrifying moments and I thought that this was probably the most frightening entry in the franchise. There was this slow burn build up that really paid off in the end and my heart is still pounding.

Solid performances.

Usually I’m not really blown away by the actors in these movies but I actually thought the cast did a decent job with this one. The characters could have used some more development other than Margot, but I thought they were believable, which helped me invest in them and care about their well-being.

The Cons:

Images courtesy of Paramount+

Takes a while to get going…

I was intrigued at first, but then things started to really drag for the majority of the movie. The ending saved it in a lot of ways, but I think this film could have cut out a lot to keep up the pacing.

Silly jump scares.

The first half of the movie also threw in silly jump scares in addition to the dizzy found footage camera approach, which didn’t do the film any favors. I actually really liked the folk horror vibe and I didn’t even mind that the film had nothing to do with the other entries because I thought it was a decent enough story on its own. Perhaps it didn’t really need the Paranormal Activity name…

So am I in or out?

Images courtesy of Paramount+

I’m in about 75 percent…

This film was a lot better than I thought it was going to be and I think it managed to branch out into its own story so that it didn’t seem stale or overdone. The pacing needed some work and a lot of the gimmicks were unnecessary, but that ending was edge-of-your-seat intense!

I hope you enjoyed the review and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin in the comments section below. Thanks so much for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

DON’T TAKE THE JOB…

It was only supposed to be temporary…but when Olivia Crewe accepts a new position that seems too good to be true, she soon discovers that twelve other girls previously had the same job as her. Only none of them lasted for more than thirty days. No notice. Nothing…right before they mysteriously disappeared without a trace.

My supernatural thriller Girl Number Thirteen is out now! I hope you enjoy!

Girl Number Thirteen is available here!

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Ranking the top 5 moments from “Once Upon a Time” season 7 episode 20: “Home isn’t a Place. It’s the People in it”

After watching ABC’s Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 20 last night, Henry’s words really described what this series is all about.  “That’s the thing about stories.  They’re more than words.  They live inside of us.  They make us who we are.  And as long as someone believes that…there will be magic.”  When you think about Once Upon a Time as it draws close to the series finale next week, you immediately think about believing in the impossible.  The fairy tales we grew up with sparked our own imagination and creativity, shaping who we have become even if we don’t always see it.  Words can be more powerful than we realize, allowing our feelings and stories to come alive across the page.  Even when this series ends, the stories will live on, reminding us of the importance of taking a leap of faith when the world seems to be quite mad.  It provides us with an escape that can inspire hope, love, and adventure.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “Is This Henry Mills?” Regina desperately tries to get Henry to believe again but is running out of ideas.  Meanwhile, Rogers/Nook and Rumple recruit Margot to help save Tilly before it is too late and the ultimate villain is revealed.  My top 5 moments from Once Upon a Time season 7 episode 20 are:

5

“Because I can be very convincing.”

While helping Jacinda and Lucy pack for their trip with Henry, Sabine/Tiana is worried about Drew.  After Lucy reveals that the back-pack is from Drew, she finds a tarot card hidden inside.  Lucy immediately knows that this means that Samdi/Dr. Facilier will have an idea about what’s going on.  Jacinda and Sabine/Tiana go to confront Dr. Facilier who has nothing to hide at this point, recognizing that magic is about to resurface again.  He opens the closet door and reveals Drew gagged and tied up and suggests that the ladies join him.  While we know that Dr. Facilier’s ultimate goal is to obtain the Dark One’s dagger, what does he have to gain by holding these characters captive?  Is it merely to prevent them from getting in the way or did he have something else in store for them?  It looks like we may never find out, as Dr. Facilier’s own fate is about to take a cruel twist.  I wonder if he saw that coming in the cards.

4

“I’ve got nothing left to lose so let’s do this.”

Even though Regina is having trouble getting Henry to believe again, she refuses to give up.  She turns down Gothel’s offer to join her coven and chooses the side of humanity, proving once again that the Evil Queen has shed its wickedness and has embraced what it truly means to be a hero.  Even though Regina does not have magic in this world, she is not about to let Gothel win.  She stands up to her and faces her, but is wounded after Gothel attacks her.  While Regina may not be the hero to take down Gothel, her will to stand against her is commendable.

3

“I’m not like you.  You chose hate.  But I choose love.”

After Tilly courageously joined Gothel’s coven to protect her father’s life, she is now under some type of trance, trapped by the magic she is channeling.  Rogers/Nook tells her that he will come back for her and save her and is ready to finally take a leap of faith.  Rumple reveals to him that it’s all real and Rogers/Nook is finally ready to accept this and listen.  When he asks who he is from the other realm, Rumple says, “All you need to know right now is that you’re a survivor…Captain.”  Rogers and Rumple seek out the help of Margot, desperately hoping that she can get through to Tilly before it is too late.  We learn that after each witch sacrifices all of their power to the spell, they turn into a tree in the eternal grove and it’s only a matter of time before Tilly starts growing roots of her own.  Margot tries to talk Tilly out of this, recognizing that perhaps she is just having a really bad day and “maybe we can turn it into a good one.”  Tilly refuses, however; and flings her in the air, shrinking her enemies into almost non-existence, as she remains trapped by the magic consuming her.  When the curse is ultimately broken, Margot and Tilly remember themselves as Robin and Alice…or “Tower Girl.”  When the words, “I told you we’d always know each other” are spoken, you can’t help feeling an overwhelming sense of warmth and love for these two characters.  Their love for one another is so pure and good, proving that real love can truly conquer all.  This reunion is put on hold, however; as Gothel still remains to be a threat.  Gothel tries to tell Alice that she is like her and will not be able to defeat her, but Alice has her father and Robin by her side.  She chooses love and turns Gothel into a tree, hoping that she can grow into something beautiful again and ultimately find peace.   The curse is broken and Alice can finally be reunited with her father again and with her true love, Robin.  Well deserved!

2

“Don’t you want to believe?”

During the episode, we flash to another timeline where young Henry Mills is approaching graduation and deciding on whether or not he should leave Storybrooke or stay behind with his mother, Regina.  Regina has some doubts about Henry leaving, but she puts her feelings aside because all she really wants is for him to be happy.  Grown up Henry is still having trouble believing, even after he witnesses all of the magic around him.  Regina tries a memory potion and even digs up the “Once Upon a Time” second book from Victoria’s grave, desperately trying to help him remember who he is and what he believes in.  Nothing happens after all of these attempts and it seems like Henry’s belief may really be gone forever, as he is unable to deal with the grief of losing the family he thought he had.  However, Henry is failing to realize that his family has been right in front of him this whole time.  Regina tries to tell him that the curse is not just a land without magic, but that they were brought to a different time, bringing time travel into the mix, and bringing me back to Lost once again.  Henry looks at the adoption papers Regina left with him and decides to take a very own leap of faith of his own by calling the phone number listed.  Lost fans everywhere will remember the memorable moment in the episode, “The Constant,” where Desmond makes a phone call to Penny that saves his life and helps him remember who he is.  The connection he had to his love, Penny was enough to bring him back.  In Once Upon a Time, Henry is about to experience something very similar.  When he calls, he speaks to his younger self and provides him with some really great advice.  The conversation causes his memories to come flashing back to him, as he finally remembers who he is.  After Gothel attacks Regina, Henry rushes to her side and kisses her forehead, breaking the curse for good in a beautiful moment.  It was true love’s kiss after all, but for the mother who sacrificed everything for him.  Magic is back and so are the memories that had been hidden away for so long.  Young Henry gets it absolutely right when he says that “Storybrooke will always be with me.”  Not just with you Henry, but with all of us and it’s hard not to shed some tears as we approach the very end.  However, even though it seems like our happy ending has finally arrived, there is one more twist left.

1

“Did you really think a wish realm could hold me?”

After the curse is broken, Rumple realizes that the dagger is gone and immediately jumps to the conclusion yet again that Dr. Facilier is responsible.  Rumple is finally starting to realize that he may not be able to get back to Belle and he wants to focus his energy on the family he has here.  He even hesitates and doesn’t kill Dr. Facilier when he has the chance and Dr. Facilier mocks him by telling him, “You’re a shadow of your former self.”  Who said that words could never hurt you?  Dr. Facilier is stabbed with the dagger and the Dark One is responsible.  Rumple will literally need to face himself and destroy the evil of the Dark One once and for all, but is he powerful enough to do so?  We know that some of our favorite characters will be returning for the series finale next week.  I am beyond excited and can’t wait to see how the story finally ends.  Stay tuned!

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Once Upon a Time in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading and happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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