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‘Paranormal Activity 5′ – What’s Next For the Horror Franchise?

Paranormal Activity 5
Paramount Pictures

Paranormal Activity 5‘ is happening – that much we know. The ‘Paranormal Activity’ franchise is a huge hit at Halloween and with the latest sequel ‘Paranormal Activity 4‘ now in theaters (and likely to do big business), the found footage action has returned.

Though the story expands to add seemingly unrelated characters, it once again fails to fill in all the gaps of our understanding how the ‘Paranormal’ films all fits together. So how can next year’s ‘Paranormal Activity 5′ answer our questions about this mysterious and frightening world? [Potential spoilers ahead...]

The ‘Paranormal Activity’ series has grown quite the mythology, with fans and bloggers analyzing and nitpicking plot holes in order to figure out the whole story of sisters Katie and Kristi, their grandmother’s coven, Toby the demon and the significance of Kristi’s son, Hunter. And now we’re still left us with many questions and a bit of confusion.

One major question introduced to our laundry list of inquiries with the new film is how did Hunter wind up going from being abducted by Katie in 2006 to being adopted by a family in Nevada, where he is in 2011, the time of ‘Paranormal Activity 4′? Did the possessed Katie lose the kid a year earlier when she was hit by the car of a Japanese student (according to the spin-off, ‘Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night‘)? That seems too recent. And where did Katie’s “son” Robbie come from? Might we get a peek at what occurred over the past five years in the inevitable ‘Paranormal Activity 5′? Or should the series look into any other number of possible events we’re curious about?

1930s – Should the series go all the way back, to when Grandma Lois first made the deal with the demons to offer up the first born son of her lineage? It’s particularly a curious aspect of the story, because Lois couldn’t have been more than a preteen by the end of the decade. Her origin might have been like that of Katie and Kristi in 1988. Given the time period, found footage style might not make sense. But it could be a nice homage to the classic 1922 witchcraft documentary ‘Haxan’ to present the story as the same silent footage that had been found in the 1960s. This style was affixed with a new, counter-culture-aimed narration, just as happened with ‘Haxan’ for a 1968 re-release featuring the voice of William S. Burroughs.

1966 – June of this year is when another young girl, named Diane, went through the same things Katie goes through in 2006, as depicted in the first movie. Is her story connected? How is it connected? Was Lois involved? Her own daughter (Julie) would be around the same age in 1966 as Katie is in 1988. Is this a coincidence? As for presenting the story, we’ve already seen that at least the exorcism was filmed. But then again, the fact that we’ve already seen the exorcism and heard the basic story might make this period less interesting to cover.

1992 – We know from the first film that Katie experienced “paranormal activity” when she was 13, and we’ve seen that there are videos from 1992 in the box with the 1988 home movies we see in Part 3. The assumption could be that once the first of Lois’s granddaughters entered childbearing age that she was to be possessed or impregnated or something. Other than that, there may not be a whole lot of answers to be found in what sounds like just another stopover for the demon. But fans do want to know who Katie and Kristi’s “mother” is, as referenced by Micah in the first film. Producers could prefer to wait a few more years to show us 1992 by allowing the young actresses from the previous sequel to age four years.

2006-2011 – With the new movie set five years after the events of the first two, there’s a lot that could have happened following Katie’s killing spree and kidnapping of Hunter. Of course, Hunter’s adoption by Ben and Holly, becoming the little brother of Alex and being renamed Wyatt, is perplexing. Obviously Katie, Robbie and Toby the demon (and the coven of witches?) have moved into the neighborhood to snatch the kid back. Also strange, if we are to accept it as canon, is why ‘Tokyo Night’ has her still in San Diego in 2011, likely right before moving to Nevada. Since Microsoft got some nice product placement in ‘Paranormal Activity 4,’ how about we see a succession of the five years depicted via the different stages of the iPhone?

2012 – Of course, ‘Paranormal Activity 5′ could in fact be an actual sequel and continue from where we’ve just left off. Is Alex dead? Did the coven sacrifice the teen virgin, as we’re hinted would happen? Or, might she become the next to promise a first-born son to Toby? Maybe the next installment can even take us further in time than we’re at in reality. Many horror franchises end up entering sci-fi territory at some point, so perhaps the fifth of this series can be set in a near future when Alex has a son, and the whole thing is presented as found footage shot by contact-lens cameras.

‘Paranormal Activity 5’ could also attempt to encompass all five of these time periods and storylines. It is the fifth film, and therefore it’s a good place to do something involving a pentagram. Just put the symbol on the screen and have each point marked by one of these five ideas. The audience is likely getting bored of just paying attention to one screen anyway, the search through the image for strange goings on and sudden appearances from characters or ghosts becoming too easy of a puzzle. Is split-screen the solution?

Producers of the series usually don’t know where the next installment will take us at this point, so now is the time to tell them where you’d like to go next. What do you think?

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