How to watch the Paranormal Activity movies in order

Kayla Harrington
Kathryn Newton in Paranormal Activity 4

Here’s how to watch all seven Paranormal Activity movies including the order of release, chronological order, and where to stream them.

Unless you’ve been living under a horror movie rock, then you’ve heard of the ghostly series that took the world by storm. The collection is known as the Paranormal Activity franchise.

Beginning in 2007 and ending in 2021, the Paranormal Activity movies have been a cornerstone of the horror genre. They helped refine what ghost movies could be and created a franchise that’s terrifying to this day.

If you’re looking to do a re-watch of these iconic movies or you don’t know where to start your Paranormal Activity journey, then this guide is for you. Here’s how to watch all seven Paranormal Activity movies in release and chronological order.

Paranormal Activity movies in release order

As most movie-lovers know, watching a franchise in release order is usually the go-to move. It helps invest you into the world in the same way the film’s fans did. Plus, you don’t have to worry about missing any details because you’re worried about messing up the movies’ timeline. So, here’s the release order for the Paranormal Activity movies:

  • Paranormal Activity (2007)
  • Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
  • Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
  • Paranormal Activity 4 (2012)
  • Paranormal Activity: The Marked One (2014)
  • Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
  • Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (2021)

The first Paranormal Activity movie was developed as a feature film and only had a budget of $15,000. However, after Paramount Pictures acquired the film after it was completed, it modified the ending using a bigger budget of $200,000.

The first chapter also had an ingenious marketing strategy to drum up excitement: the studio created a website for the film and, according to Entertainment Weekly, there was a yellow box in the top-right corner that said “Demand it!” When you clicked on the box, you were then led to a site where you could vote for the movie to come to your city and you could also see how many other people had voted.

The idea was to get horror movie fans in a bit of a competition to see who would be able to see this little indie-film-turned-blockbuster-movie first. It was a smart move that led to Paranormal Activity making $194 million in worldwide box office sales.

Paranormal Activity movies in chronological order

Watching the Paranormal Activity movies in chronological order is a bit of a challenge as you have to strictly follow the timeline in order to not miss out on important plot details, a bit like the Saw movies, so be sure to follow this list carefully.

  • Paranormal Activity 3
  • Paranormal Activity 2
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Paranormal Activity 4
  • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
  • Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
  • Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

The movies begin with one family tree being the center of the universe before it expands out to include other people.

Paranormal Activity 3

A teenager sits at a kitchen table doing homework while a child covered in a bedsheet is behind her

Paranormal Activity 3 is a prequel to the proceeding two movies set in 1988. Sisters Katie and Kristi are behaving strangely and continuously referencing an imaginary friend named Tobi. This prompts their mother, Julie, and her boyfriend, Dennis, to set up cameras around the house where they can see a ghostly presence following the girls around, especially Kristi. The most notable thing from this movie is the introduction of The Midwives Coven, who have a more prominent role in later films.

Paranormal Activity 2

Katie and Kristi stand side by side eating candy

The events of Paranormal Activity 2 takes place one month before Paranormal Activity. We follow Kristi and her husband, Daniel, as they welcome their newborn son, Hunter, into the family. Hunter is the first male to be born on Kristi’s side of the family since the 1930s, which seems to invite an evil presence into their lives. In order to save his family, Daniel decides to make a sacrifice that comes back to haunt him.

Paranormal Activity

Katie and Micah lay in bed looking terrified

Taking us back to where it all began, Paranormal Activity documents the lives of Katie and her husband, Micah, as they move into their new home. However, things quickly take a darker turn as supernatural events begin happening to them. To figure out what’s going on, Micah sets up a ton of cameras in their house, which becomes the franchise’s signature style. Together, Katie and Micah try to save themselves from the ghostly spirit before it’s too late.

Paranormal Activity 4

Alex Nelson is lifted out of bed by a ghost

Paranormal Activity 4 takes place five years after the events in Paranormal Activity 2. Alex lives a pretty normal life in a Nevada suburb with her parents and younger brother, Wyatt. When Wyatt’s new friend, Robbie, comes to stay with the family while his mother is in the hospital, Alex notices terrifying occurrences starting to happen to the family and works with her best friend, Ben, to try and stop them.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Two teenagers watch footage back on a laptop

What could a franchise full of demonic possessions and murder need? Time travel, of course! Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows high school senior Jesse as he deals with the aftermath of a murder in his apartment complex that causes an evil spirit to begin to stalk him. After doing some research, Jesse realizes that he’s been marked by The Midwives, a group of witches attempting to create an army of possessed young men, and it’s up to him to stop their final ritual before it’s too late.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension

Ryan holds Lelia while a videotape plays in the background

A blend of the past and the present, Paranormal: The Ghost Dimension dives into the origin story of Tobi, the spirit that’s haunted the franchise from the very beginning. When Ryan and Emily move into a new home with their young daughter, Lelia, it isn’t long before Lelia starts communicating with an imaginary friend. After Ryan finds a supernatural camera, the family begins to realize that their house is haunted in more ways than one.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin

Margot crawls on the ground after being knocked down

While Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin is only loosely tied to the original events of the franchise, it still deals with the same themes and overall message. When Margot begins her documentary journey to figure out where her mother came from, she ends up in a small Amish community that’s harboring a dark and dangerous secret that seems to revolve around her.

How to watch the Paranormal Activity movies

All seven Paranormal Activity movies are available to stream on Paramount+, which you can subscribe to for as little as $4.99 a month.

The first five Paranormal Activity movies are also available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video, while Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is included only with a Prime membership, which you can sign up for here.

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