Director: Christopher Landon
Starring: Katie Featherston, Molly Ephraim, Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Catherine Toribio
Jesse Arista is a young teenager living in a mexican neighborhood in California. He gets a digital video camera as a graduation gift and quickly becomes fascinated by it and documents practically everything he does in his life with it.
Together with his sister Marisol and his best friend Hector, he starts to investigate a strange death in an apartment on the ground floor that might be blamed on a bruja, a latin name for a witch. They come in contact with a spirit that will start to affect Jesse badly, and his friends and family is worried that he might be the next victim.
The Marked Ones is the fifth entry, sixth if you also count the unofficial japanese sequel, into the very popular Paranormal Activity franchise. It’s not called Paranormal Activity 5 since it is presented more as a latin based spinoff, even though after seeing it I can’t really see any reason why they couldn’t just slap the number five tag on it since it does play in the same world as the main story from the previous four films.
What’s fun about this entry is that we get a totally different setting than the suburban setting of the previous ones. This one doesn’t take place in a typical big fancy house and in those terms this feels fresh. Yet it feels like they missed the opportunity to introduce other cultures take on witches and the supernatural as the so-called “latin” side of the film brings nothing new to the table. And when the horror first start then it becomes mostly just a rehash of the other films, delivering absolutely nothing new even if it is presented in a new wrapper.
The film also takes its time to build up the story and we have to wait around 40 minutes before they try to bring in the scares. And since the kids in this one isn’t interesting at all, you will most likely not care that much about the horror parts when it first happens. In the last part they also tie the story together with the main story from the previous four films, which adds nothing and does nothing at all. I wish they would have also abandoned the entire witches aspect of the main story in this franchise since I would have prefered it to stay a bit unexplained, and what’s wrong with just having ghosts scare people? That’s way better than introducing witches to the story.
Christopher Landon has been involved with the franchise since the second film as a screenwriter and he got his chance to also be a director on this one. He doesn’t do much with the found footage angle, but also does keep it steady most of the time which should be appreciated by those who hate shaky cam movements. The acting is decent enough, although I wish that the cast had been made up by 14-15 year olds since that would seem more appropriate considering how the characters act in the film.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones tried to bring some new blood into the series by changing up the setting of the story, but still plays out like all the other films of the series. It’s not terrible and if you are a big fan of the franchise then you should find enough here to enjoy yourself, for me however I think I’m done with this series and I found this one to be quite dull.