Directed by Christopher Landon
Written by Christopher Landon
Starring Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh
84 mins - Horror | Thriller - Release date: 3 January 2014 (USA)
The Paranormal Activity franchise has taken a critical beating since the success of the first film in 2009. I can’t speak for Paranormal Activity 4, I didn’t even have the slightest inkling to see it because I’d honestly given up all hope for any film with “Paranormal Activity” slapped on it. Seriously, how many times can your trick an audience into watching essentially the same found-footage/haunting movie? Three, I guess, since that’s how many I saw before saying, “Screw this!”
True story… until I saw the trailer for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. It actually looked interesting and original and, most importantly, it looked like it had nothing to do with the other films. Have a look for yourself:
Am I right?
Writer/director Christopher Landon, who had his hands in the screenplays for Paranormal Activity parts 2 and 4 and wrote part 3 and The Marked Ones, got it right this time around — really right.
I’m not interested in retelling the story for you, or in giving away too many plot points, but I will tell you that, for me, the pacing of The Marked Ones was just right, as was the interest I had in the story and for the characters. Actually, the strength of the characters, namely Jesse and Hector, translates to the strength of the movie; you care for the characters but not enough to care what happens to them, just enough to want to follow their story. Landon also did a fine job of making the audience feel like part of the gang, and not nearly enough movies do this.
Up until a certain point, this movie almost feels like a superhero’s origin story where Jesse is concerned. So much so that Jesse even thinks so. But things quickly take a turn for the worse and everyone realized that Jesse is about as superhero as the guy working the nightshift at the gas station.
There are ties to other films in the Paranormal Activity franchise that are pretty unnecessary. The effectiveness of The Marked Ones isn’t reliant on them and I don’t really see the point of linking it to any of the others considering this is a spin-off. However, there is a Paranormal Actiity 5 (the 6th film in the franchise) in the works, so perhaps the connection will be better understood then.
Rock Hard \m/
There’s hardly a trace of gore in the movie, the scares are tame for the horror initiated, and the story isn’t even thinnly veiled. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is just a fun horror movie. Is it worth your time? Yup. I don't think you'll consider your time wasted if you watch it, but you're not missing anything if you don't. I imagine The Marked Ones would be a lot of fun with a group of friends, or a jittery female companion.