Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin’s Big Connection to Earlier Movies Explained
Warning: Spoilers ahead for Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin.
While Paramount has billed the seventh Paranormal Activity – written by franchise veteran Christopher Landon – as a fresh start for the series, a fan on the Paranormal Activity Wiki may have just cracked how the so-called reboot of the found-footage horror mainstay may actually take place in the series’ already-established continuity.
A late revelation about the demonic presence plaguing the characters throughout Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin ties the events of the film right back into the surprisingly complex mythology of Paranormal Activities 1-6. Read on for all the details!
— Paranormal Activity (@TweetYourScream) October 6, 2021
Throughout Next of Kin, lead character Margot is looking for her birth mother, who abandoned her as an infant. Her search leads her to the Beiler farm, an Amish community that’s not actually all that Amish after all. The farm is more of a prison for the demon Asmodeus, an especially powerful prince of darkness, and the “Amish” are a clan of religious protectors who have managed to bind Asmodeus to a single bloodline. The women of this bloodline serve as hosts for the demon and pass the burden along to their daughters. Margot’s biological mother Sarah was the last host of Asmodeus… and remains so in the present day. A prisoner deep under the farm, Sarah gave Margot up rather than subject her to the ruin Asmodeus would cause to her body and spirit, and judging by Sarah’s worse-for-wear appearance by the end of Next of Kin, that was quite the sacrifice to make.
Next of Kin wraps up with Margot putting Sarah out of her misery and escaping the Beiler farm with her friend Chris, but it’s no happy ending. Asmodeus possesses Sam Beiler, Margot’s cousin, and escapes the farm, free to chase down Margot or to wreak havoc on other unsuspecting people who refuse to put their cameras down in mortally dangerous circumstances. It’s a clean jumping-off point for new stories in a fresh continuity, but “Asmodeus” is not a name chosen lightly (you know, like a lead character named “Chris”). In fact, the name seems to be Paramount’s way of leaving the door open to tying Next of Kin back to the original canon.
It all comes back to the demon that plagued the character of all six previous films: Tobi. First named in Paranormal Activity 3, Tobi is how the demon introduces himself to characters in every movie after. It’s a fact remarked upon by Father Todd in 2015’s Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, the last entry in the franchise. Father Todd asks the girl seeing Tobi if he’s ever used another name, as demons often change their names to mask their identities. And Next of Kin may find Tobi having finally gone back to living under his true identity. As an update to “Tobi’s” page on the Paranormal Activity fan Wiki by user NoraFromQueens points out, Asmodeus is a demon from the historical Book of Tobit. Tobit… like Tobi… hey, maybe the demon’s name is spelled “Tobit” and the “t” is silent! Maybe the subtitles have been getting it wrong this whole time!
The connection can’t be an accident, but whether or not the Asmodeus of Next of Kin and Tobi are one in the same is an open question. Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, set in 2013, ended with Tobi actually attaining human form, with nothing standing in his way to achieve whatever nefarious goals he wanted. But in Next of Kin, set in 2021, Asmodeus has seemingly been trapped in Sarah’s body for decades. The timelines don’t quite add up, but if you’re a fan of Paranormal Activity, you know that’s no big deal! Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones introduced time travel to the franchise, by way of doorways drawn with runes. Heck, at one point, protagonist Jesse is sucked through space-time and pops back in his living room moments later. The Ghost Dimension further shreds the fabric of reality by having a taped recording of Kristi (a major character from Paranormal Activity 2 and 3 as a young girl) from 1988 be able to describe the room in which the characters are watching the tape in the story’s 2013.
It’s conceivable that, some time after Tobi succeeds in achieving human form in 2013, some character could have found a way to expel the demon from their present and send it back in time (or to another universe entirely) where it latches on to the Beilers at some point in the past. Ali Rey, Paranormal Activity 2’s protagonist, is still alive and even helped The Marked Ones’ Hector and Marisol find the hideout of the Midwives, the coven responsible for summoning Tobi in the earlier Paranormal Activity movies. It’s practically a hallmark of the Paranormal Activity films to set new entries in between or prior to others, so Paramount+ has plenty of room to go in and fill in the gaps according to what degree Next of Kin ends up resonating with fans (which may be a struggle, based on my review).
Nice catch, NoraFromQueens! So what do you think? Is Next of Kin a secret sequel or is “Asmodeus” just Christopher Landon’s nod to the “Tobi” of Paranormal Activities past? Let us know what you think in the comments!
Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is now streaming on Paramount+.