Long ago in a galaxy far far away (well at least seven years ago at local cinemas) audiences were re-introduced to the found-footage genre. The first “Paranormal Activity” was fresh, scary and new to audiences.
With the latest installment “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” we get to see a series that was entertaining and at times innovative, get flushed down the toilet.
I am a fan of the series. The first two obviously being my favorites and the third and fourth still being taken at face value and chalked up to the, “I wouldn’t watch it again but it was entertaining” category.
“The Marked Ones” follows Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his best friend Carlos (Eddie J. Fernandez) after the death of their neighbor. Strange things start happening to Jesse and he becomes a freak. Jesse can punch someone and send them 30 feet into the air or fly over a flight of stairs with his skateboard (don’t worry it gets sillier).
When Jesse finds out that he’s been “marked” and is being possessed by something to be recruited into a demon army he and his family do everything in their power to save his soul.
The studio decided to go a different route with this story and base it in a Hispanic community. They also decided to use a GoPro so that the paranormal action isn’t just confined to the house.
At times I felt like I was watching a new installment to the Wayans Brothers “Scary Movie” franchise. It is over the top and silly to the point of becoming a spoof of itself.
The most important thing missing from “The Marked Ones” is the subtlety that the first four contained. The previous films left it up to the audience’s imagination by not showing the elephant in the room and instead gave a vague sense of something that was truly from beyond.
Revealing too much visually takes away from the fun that the first films created. You will get a full-on look at the demon, and, for me, the entity I had imagined in my head was far scarier than the sad makeup job that is revealed.
The plot becomes overly convoluted (for the type of film that is being made) and did I mention it is silly? Once the “Why this is happening” is discovered it becomes cringe worthy (and not scary cringes but “who the heck wrote this” cringes).
Every scare in this film is 100 percent predictable. The past films always did a great job of getting innovative with camera placement or using devices to get the audience to jump. “Marked One” is “Bump in the Night: 101” for beginners.
When two thugs are called in to help locate one of the characters the plot took a dive. Out of their trunk, the thugs pull out a pistol grip shotgun and a sub machine gun. When they use those weapons to kill witches I wanted to run out of the theatre to do something more entertaining like watch paint dry or pull out my fingernails.
I did enjoy the humor at the start of the film, and I enjoyed the attention to detail and obvious research that was given to the use of Santería and a Curandero. The use of eggs to expel evil is something that is actually used.
“The Marked Ones” heads in a new direction, unfortunately, it is going the wrong way.
But being that this is the only film that is opening this weekend and considering the low budget used, I’m more than certain it will gain enough money to spawn another unwanted sequel. Hopefully next time they remember that audiences (and especially horror audiences) have actual functioning brains.