When the small-budget horror film Paranormal Activity reenergized the concept of found footage horror, it created a major genre trend and a six-film franchise.
As the films went on, some of the audience began to lose interest in the formulaic avenues the films depended on, with films like Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones being a brilliant direction to the franchise — but a film generally misunderstood at the time of its release.
Now that the franchise is confirmed to be coming back with a found footage approach and very few details to analyze, we have a few requests.
Katie & Hunter
The first Paranormal Activity introduced us to Katie, a seemingly kind, gentle protagonist who falls victim to a demonic entity that possesses her. The possession is a large part of the first film's eerie atmosphere, resulting in cameos for each installment that followed.
After the second film, we learned that there is a ritual involving her nephew Hunter, which was (confusingly) executed in later films. Still, the core audience has always shown interest in that story if we get a chance to return. Even if through a new demon or family, longtime fans of Paranormal Activity deserve some sense of closure for a franchise that spans over a decade.
If you want to use the Paranormal Activity title to grab the attention of a pre-existing fanbase, there have to be some satisfactory inclusions.
It can be said that most Paranormal Activity films have a similar setting. More often than not, there's a family in the suburbs, where one believes a haunting, and the others are there to consistently doubt the unexplainable.
Sure, they can shake up the audience in these settings, but the films that try something outside the box tend to work out the best. If you look at the prequel approach in Paranormal Activity 3, it feels reminiscent of what fans already knew, but the film forced viewers to dive into a larger story with more payout than either of the first films.
The lesser-appreciated Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was the next film to step outside of the repetitious
suburban box, bringing a much-needed breath of fresh air to Paranormal Activity, with a strong cast, a sharper script, and something different — what you want from a franchise that's five films in. If the next film can try to add a new spin to the horror template they've established, this could be a good way to reintroduce Paranormal Activity to audiences' nightmares.
When we first saw Paranormal Activity, the film was entirely filmed via a handheld camcorder from the perspective of the couple. When needing to adapt over the years, the film either used a VHS-esque filter over the finished product or began to utilize webcams, even gaming consoles, to fill the timelines and direction needs.
For the most part, found footage films have died down, and even sequels to popular sub-genre titles like Cloverfield plan on ditching the format moving forward, but Searching proved it can still be done. With the film Searching, we watch primarily over a desktop camera and a smartphone, which kept moviegoers on edge from beginning to end.
If they plan on keeping these ways of filming like it's currently being reported, I hope they take notes on films that have worked — or haven't worked since Paranormal Activity went into hibernation.