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Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones – 6


Director – Christopher Landon

Cast – Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Renee Victor, Noemi Gonzalez, David Saucedo, Gloria Sandoval, Richard Cabral, Jessica Tyler Brown, Carlos Pratts, Juan Vasquez, Alonso Alvarez

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

After the abysmal Paranormal Activity 4 I was really hoping the series would come to an end, but of course that will not be the case for years to come. When I first learned of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones I was skeptical but a bit enthused at the idea of the series focusing on what we would assume to be a haunting unrelated to the first four films. It was about time the series ventured away from the stagnant storyline that spanned four films and hardly progressed the original tale, and that breath of fresh air is what makes this piece an interesting one. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a step up from its predecessor and also breaks new ground both story-wise and regarding creativity, but in the end it fails to be a solid watch that I would recommend you spend top dollar for.

Recent high school graduate Jesse has a lot of life and opportunities to look forward to, but all of that changes when his mysterious neighbor, who rumors say is a “brujeria” (Spanish for “witch”), is murdered under odd circumstances. As Jesse and his friends investigate the strange death he soon learns that he has been “marked” by a malevolent demon slowly taking possession over him.

Writer Christopher Landon, who wrote Paranormal Activity 2, 3, and 4, did the right thing in giving us a different setting. The middle/upper class Anglo demographic is replaced with a Mexican-American family living the lower class life in Oxnard, California. The template is pretty much the same though, with Jamie acquiring access to a video camera and using it to document his everyday activities, which includes some of the strange occurrences going on in the apartment below him. The apartment belongs to Anna, a strange neighbor believed to be involved in witchcraft, but Jamie has no idea just how right this rumor is. Soon after her death he begins to experience strange occurrences in his home and odd changes in his body, and unlike any of the previous films in the series…he enjoys them. Instead of freaking out he uses his new “powers” to his advantage, and to be honest I found this pretty darn clever and one of the most enjoyable elements of the story. It really changed the feel of the film in comparison to its predecessors, which I think was pretty important given every viewer who had seen the previous flicks was also comparing it to them. Of course, not all that is well will end well, and soon enough the conflict kicks into high gear. There are some good creepy scenes here and there and there was much more horror than I anticipated, but some of this “horror” was not as enjoyable as I wanted it to be thanks to how outlandish Jamie became during the film’s final act. Even though this is considered a “cousin” to the first four films there are several scenes that tie the film in with the others. The most intense of these scenes are at the end of the film but if you pay enough attention you will catch several other references earlier in the story.

Crackheads, obviously…

Christopher Landon also directed this piece and overall he did an OK job. I was mostly impressed with his atmosphere during the creepy scenes, which was especially scary during the scenes taking place in Anna’s apartment. The scares themselves were good enough I suppose but I never actually found myself scared or experiencing goosebumps like I did with Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2. He does a great job with character interaction, such as the bond between Jamie, his friends, and his hilarious grandmother / “abuelita”, which provided for a lot of comic relief. While I mostly blame the writing for this, I really was not sold on the possessed Jamie and felt that he came off too cliché. Had he been executed differently and in a fashion that was actually scary then the film could have achieved a higher rating.

Overall, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is an improvement over its predecessor, Paranormal Activity 4, but fails to live up to the other flicks in the series. The change of scenery is nice and so are the unique writing ideas only seen in this film, but there is much missing. While the scares are plentiful and some of them are pretty good, in the end we are left with a slightly unsatisfying experience that restores some faith in the franchise…but not enough.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

Not sure if Ann Coulter or…Ann Coulter.

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  1. January 12, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hey dude! Love the way you tend to check out ALL the horror movies. I’ve never seen any of the Paranormal Activity movies because, while I’m actually quite keen on found footage movies like “REC” and “V/H/S/2”, I have a tendency to get extremely annoyed by ghost films.

    (For example, I recognise that “The Orphanage” is really well made, but the plot just made me groan. Particularly the ending. But I LOVED his most recent film “The Impossible”. He needs you to feel the horror of the tsunami and boy do you feel it. Are you planning to review that?)

    I also get extremely annoyed by jump scares. The whole “millipede in an envelope” thing in the American remake of “The Ring” annoyed the hell out of me, as did the frequent predictable jumps in “The Sixth Sense”. (I prefer to be scared by the movie rather than random loud noises preceded by high pitched sound effects.)

    Anyway, I don’t know if you are familiar with the Horror Etc podcast. They did a big discussion of the Paranormal Activity movies recently and I now remember how much you seem to rate them. I’m now definitely planning to see the first one to find out what I’ve been missing at some point this year.

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