After a six year absence the ghouls are back, in a sort of re-boot that breeds familiarity….

A lot has happened within the franchise since Oren Peli delivered a masterful simple found footage ghost story way back in 2007, with spin offs and numerous sequels with one oddly called “The Ghost Dimension“, its safe to say the idea has been milked for its all worth and fans have become quite tired of things that “go bump in the night!”

Now after a six year gap, we back in the world of Paranormal Activity and while this changes the blueprint massively in terms of what we are used too, this new addition can not help but fall back into the same old traps of its predecessors once the horror hits.

Gone are established characters of Katie and Hunter and with it the usual house and bedroom settings, instead the story broadens its horizons by going on the road as we follow Margot (Emily Bader) who is desperate to find the reasons why she was abandoned as a baby, with only a hospital security cam footage of her Mum leaving her behind many years ago.

With her documentary film-maker boyfriend Chris (Roland Buck III) in tow and obviously filming every move, Margot meets with a young Amish man who claims her mother was part of his secluded community and welcomes them to join him back at his farm.

Of course there are many secrets to emerge once they arrive and this is where Next Of Kin gets a bit lost in what its trying to be. Where once we had the ghostly going’s on ramping up as each day or night passes, this addition seems more interested in exactly what the Beiler family are hiding than actually reminding itself that its a ghost story.

While many have compared this to a low budget “Midsommar”, there were many occasions where I felt this film could easily have been called Paranormal Activity: The REC version, as it does dip its toes into that Spanish masterpiece on a few occasions.

Its not all doom and gloom. Its the most polished of the franchise, expertly directed by William Eubank and Christopher Landon who has wrote many of the entries, cleverly sets up a new world, away from the usual Toby bogeyman and while the more action chaos of its final third act will delight those who moaned that not much usually at the climax of these films, you can not help but feel its all rather bland, lacking the freshness we desperately needed to feel.

While the farm itself is a perfect ghost setting and with a delightful potato peeler incident and kids singing a spooky tune making the horror juices just about flow on occasions, Next of Kin doesn’t really do enough to warrant its own existence, with some scenes even betraying its own found footage concept.

By the time Margot asks Chris for help to lower her into a secret shaft at a place where an elder (Tom Nowicki) has warned them not to enter, once more you have reached a stage in this genre where you can should be screaming “put down the camera and run” but after seven films, do we really care anymore…..

2 Hatchets out of 5