Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Director: Christopher Landon

Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Davis, Gabrielle Walsh, Renee Victor, Noemi Gonzalez, David Saucedo

Rated: R (pervasive language, some violence, graphic nudity and some drug use)

When a young man becomes the target of a malevolent entity, he must uncover its true intentions before it takes complete control of him.

 

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

By Cole Schneider

The first Paranormal Activity film was an interesting experiment in minimalist horror on a marginal budget. Since then, the series has become a prime example of the law of diminishing returns. This installment, in an exasperated attempt at breaking its own mold, feels at times more like a comic origin story gone awry than a horror film and often it feels like someone wanted to set a world record for most headaches induced on an audience. The shaky cam is relentless, as it is in all of the Paranormal Activity films, but here to what effect?

What the series strives to do is to meld the mundane and the macabre and this is aided, obviously, by the personality of the characters filming as they go. Here though, it merely distracts. The mundane is purely pushed aside and the macabre just throws everything in its arsenal at the characters. The result is a loss of reality and it’s reality that the series was built upon. So when the “twist” ending comes we just don’t care anymore. Either we see it coming, we’re bored out of our minds, or we’re reaching for some OTC headache medicine. None of which, I believe was the desired response.

Still, hard fans of this specific sub-genre of film or longtime fans of the series may find something interesting here even if they aren’t given any reason to care about the characters. There are still a few fleeting jump-out-and-scare-you moments that many have come to love in the series. Maybe the sixth will be better?

Rating: 0.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

By Matt Greene

At first, it seemed like the fun might be back in the Paranormal franchise with “The Marked Ones”. There’s a much needed change of environment, good comic relief and even a few decent horror images. All of this is completely negated by the movie’s utter stupidity.  While the first film was a worthy cultural phenomenon, the series is becoming a chore. If “The Marked Ones”, the first big release of the year, is a sign of things to come, then it is going to be a LONG year.

This is the fifth “Paranormal” film, and is more of a spin-off than a sequel. It follows Latino teenagers in California and (SURPRISE) strange things begin to happen to them. This movie is clearly trying to harken its own previous films while also laying new ground, but fails on both fronts. It tries exorcism horror…and fails. It tries haunted house horror…and fails. It tries mythological horror…and fails. In fact, what made the first films so great was their simplicity; we could place our personal fears within the story. With all of this convoluted, lazy and stupid mythos, all relatability has been thrown out the window.

Worst of all, it’s clichéd and predictable. That’s never good, but especially for a horror film that relies on being surprising. Instead, the creepiness is laughable, and the found footage element has become less of a device and more of a gimmick, too often being boring instead of scary. So while the first few films caused nightmares, this one will just put you to sleep.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

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