'Paranormal Activity 5': Where Will It Take Us?

Does the series flash back to 1970 or forward to 2022? Our 'PA' columnist has a few ideas.

For the past few years, October has meant two things: One, that a new "Paranormal Activity" movie is coming to theaters, and two, that they're going to announce the next "Paranormal Activity." This year, both of those came to pass within a few days of each other.

With "Paranormal Activity 5" now officially on its way, it got us thinking about where the series should go next. We had a few ideas, more specifically, five of them.

Back to the '90s

If we're talking about big blank spots in the "Paranormal Activity" mythology, this is probably the most apparent. The end of "Paranormal 3" set up some dark times for Little Katie and Little Kristi. What was the coven going to do to them that would make them suitable as mothers for an offering to Toby? We know that in "Paranormal 1," Katie remembers some of the hauntings, but she clearly doesn't recall everything. Otherwise, none of this should seem that surprising to her, and she'd be friends with Toby, which actually sounds like a fun movie in and of itself.

Back to the '70s

Traveling back in time to the 1980s worked so well, why not take it back even further to the decade before? Granted, home video technology wasn't what it was even in the '80s, that decade would make great fodder for more low-fi scares and great wardrobe. What was Grandma Lois up to in her younger days? Did Toby go through a sideburns phase? These are things we need to know about.

Traditional Sequel

Maybe the right choice isn't to look back again but move boldly into the future. The ambiguous ending of "Paranormal 4" could keep Alex alive for a return in the next installment. If that's the case, now would be the time to introduce a recurring hero, someone who will fight Toby, instead of just new people to die. As Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman pointed out in our interview, she's the first person to fight back in the series, and having someone to root for would be a nice change of pace for the franchise. Think about it: Alex has the motivation. Her family is dead. Her brother has been kidnapped. Don't you think she'd want some vengeance?

Big Flash Forward

Another option for moving forward is to jump way forward. Give us a movie set 10 or 15 years down the road. It doesn't have to be all futuristic (what will really be that different about 2022?) With the jump, we remove any hope for saving Wyatt/Hunter. Toby possesses him completely, and now he's some version of the anti-Christ. Now that Toby has his human, what's the next step? It's a completely new direction for the series' story and that's a good thing.

Abandon Found Footage (Kinda)

This is less of a story idea and more of a concept that could fit any one of these pitches. There are moments throughout the "Paranormal Activity" series that feel chained to their format. You can't always just explain away the found footage by saying that the main character is an "over documenter." There has to be some explanation for why all of this footage has been cut together. Perhaps the series needs to take a note from "Sinister" and reveal who is finding the footage. That way, you can still incorporate more found footage into the film without it being the main focus.

What do you want to see in "Paranormal Activity 5"? Leave your comment below!