The sixth and possibly final installment of the Paranormal Activity series (2007 – 2015) is due out today (Friday October 23)—in limited release—and the word is it will answer all fans’ questions about the franchise.
So, what questions do we have? As it turns out, I, at least, have plenty.
-1. Most pressingly, what do the witches (and Toby) want?
Hints about what the witches and their demonic leader, Toby, want have been slowly doled out across all five films, but they are still not at all clear. They seem mostly to be after boys. In PA2, Kristi’s step-daughter Ali reads something online about how people have been known to make a demonic pact by which they get power or wealth in exchange for offering up the first-born male in their family. The suggestion is that Kristi and Katie’s grandmother (Lois), who is part of a coven of witches, made such a pact and so Toby now wants Kristi’s son, Hunter.
The coven clearly pre-dates Lois, though, since, in PA3, Dennis shows Kristi and Katie’s mother, Julie, a photograph of a witch coven from the 1930s and reads from a book about a ceremony by which the witches would take the sons of pregnant girls, brainwashing them (it’s not clear if they brainwash the boys or the girls) so they remember nothing.
In PA4, the mythology develops to include stories of male children being possessed by the demon, and the now-six-year-old Hunter seems to become possessed during the course of the film. The Marked Ones reveals the protagonist Jesse to be one of these boys too—and his mother is shown in a photograph with Lois from 1994.
So apparently the witches want boys. But why? Is there a point to the taking of males, a reason for their possession? PA2 suggested it was all about making deals for power and wealth, but that suggestion seems to have been dropped. In the end, though, maybe the demon doesn’t need a reason to create a coven of witches, to gather an “army” (as they’re called in The Marked Ones) of possessed boys. But it does seem that, after five films, there should be some end point, some reason for it all.
-2. What explains Katie’s seemingly unique role?
The PA films are nothing if not highly gendered: women are recruited as witches; boys are possessed by the demon, fodder for his “army.” But Katie (Katie Featherston) is not a witch; she’s possessed—indeed, she’s the only female to be possessed. Why?
Katie also makes an appearance in each of the five films, so she clearly has some sort of special role. This fact is particularly interesting given that PA3 makes it clear that, when they were children, Kristi was the object of Toby’s attention, not Katie.
A refrain in the first film was that the demon “wants” Katie. Will the reason for her importance be revealed in Ghost Dimension?
-3. Where is Katie and Kristi’s father?
All fathers seem markedly absent in this franchise. Indeed, the animus of “Toby” and the witches seems to be violently directed against adult males (Micah in PA1, Dan in PA2, Dennis in PA3). Katie and Kristi’s father is mentioned very fleetingly in PA3 when Lois says to Julie that the girls miss their father (Julie is living with her boyfriend, Dennis). Julie’s husband may be dead, but it’s kind of curious that he’s mentioned only this one time. Might he make an appearance in the final installment?
-4. Who’s the woman pretending to be Katie’s mother—and why?
In the first Paranormal Activity, Micah makes a crack at one point about keeping Katie’s mother out of the house to ward off “negative energy.” Since Toby seems to kill Julie (Kristi and Katie’s mother) at the end of PA3 (back in 1988), who was pretending to be Katie’s mother—and why?
-5. How are the events of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones connected to the narrative arc about Lois, Kristi, Katie, and Hunter?
The Marked Ones definitely seems to be an outlier, but in one crucial scene, the main characters discover an altar in a cellar, along with a photograph of Jesse’s mother, the “bruha” Ana, and Lois (from 1994). These women are clearly all part of the coven—but is there any more specific connection between Lois (and her family) and Jesse’s family?
-6. What happened to Hunter at the end of PA4?
Katie comes to get six-year-old Hunter at the end of PA4 and takes him to the house across the street where there’s a gathering of witches. What happened to him there (and since)? That was 2011, so presumably Hunter is now ten-years-old. Will he be back? Is he more important in any way than the other possessed boys?
-7. Will the female survivors of earlier films come back?
Kristi’s step-daughter (and Hunter’s half-sister), Ali, survived PA2. Alex (Hunter’s adoptive sister) may have survived PA4. Will they be back? Both seemed very resourceful: they were able to use technology (which mostly has been the domain of males in this franchise) and yet they were also attuned, early on, to the fact that something was wrong—and they were open to the possibility of the supernatural. They seemed more capable and more flexible than the doomed males of the franchise (Micah, Dan, and Dennis)—so maybe they will have a part to play in fighting the witches and Toby in Ghost Dimension.
-8. What’s the deal with the newly disclosed ability to travel through time and space?
At the end of The Marked Ones (set in 2012), Hector and Jesse somehow appear in Katie and Micah’s kitchen in 2006, which explains Katie’s frantic screaming from downstairs at the end of the first film. This is a genuinely creepy moment—because it’s so unexpected—and it opens up all kinds of possibilities for ways in which characters and events may be connected. Is this development where the “Ghost Dimension” of the sixth film’s title comes from?
-9. Who is in the final frame of The Marked Ones?
At the very end of the film, while Katie is stabbing Micah (and we know she then carries him upstairs and throws him into his laptop), someone comes over and turns off the camera Hector had been carrying. She looks blonde (more reason to think it’s not Katie). Who is it? And why is she in Katie and Micah’s house?