If horror movies are to be measured only for its disturbing scenes and scare tactics, then Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones has the potential to regain the film series’ diminishing reputation in the found-footage genre.
The new cast, fresh story and twist are promising, but still.
Written and directed by Christopher Landon, the Marked Ones—a spin-off of the Paranormal Activity film franchise—tells the story of best friends Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), both young Latinos from California.
Jesse lives in an apartment that is also rented by Anna, who everyone believes is a witch.
When Anna is murdered, police suspects the killer is Oscar (Carlos Pratts), Jesse’s former classmate.
Curious, Jesse and his friends rummage through Anna’s things to search for the truth.
They find books and journals of magic rituals, VHS tapes featuring clips of Katie and Kristie from Paranormal Activity 3, and spells written on evil doorways.
The following day, Jesse wakes up with a weird bite on his arm.
His life is changed since then.
He becomes stronger and gains supernatural powers.
The movie is a tale of demonic possession, yet again.
After the disappointing fourth chapter of the movie franchise in 2012, the fifth installment Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones provides a new direction to the stretched-out film series.
For a change, it centers on the summer thrills of teenagers, the Latinos in particular.
At first, it promises to be eerily fun, with the cast’s mischievous antics that often get them into trouble.
However, as the film progresses, it fails to match the buildup of suspense leading to its supposedly disturbing twist.
Is it scary?
Yes, for some occasional engineered shock moments.
Still, it lacks the elements coherent with the Paranormal Activity franchise.
The Marked Ones is predictable and full of supernatural-horror-film clichés—witches, evil possessions, and gathering of black magic believers with their accounts of newborn “offerings.”
Save for the spooky, shaky video techniques, there are nothing dreadful about the occurrences in the Marked Ones that will fill the moviegoers with terror.
One feels like saying, “I’ve already seen that.”
Or, worse, makes a correct guess what will pop out from behind the curtain.
An avid horror movie fan or, for that matter, a follower of the Paranormal Activity franchise, is likely to feel shortchanged.
The Marked Ones simply lacks the elements that made the first Paranormal Activity special.
Like those scary creaking doors and random creepy sounds in a solid, disturbing plot that deprives one of sleep for days, even weeks.