Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - Review

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, is the fifth film in the super-low-budget found-footage horror franchise. This instalment moves away from the CCTV style footage of its predecessors, with the action being captured by way of a hand held camera which is sloppily written into the film. I will openly admit that I am not a fan of this horror sub genre, it’s a style which takes me completely out of the experience and diminishes the effect of the jump scares usually because they are from a fixed view point. This film left me fairly underwhelmed, its unoriginality doesn’t bode well for future films in the series.

This could affectionately be considered the ‘Latino’ spin off, as the film departs from the established characters to focus on a Hispanic family in California. After graduating high school Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) for reasons unknown grabs his father’s new camera and starts filming every waking moment of his life, with best mate Hector (Jorge Diaz) along for the ride. The two scallywags get themselves into all sorts of hijinks with their camera, until they stumble across their spooky neighbour practicing witchcraft, which, yep you guessed it ,our boys need to go investigate. The next morning Jesse wakes up with some peculiar scratches on his body and strange new powers, and that’s when things get a little bit weird … there are witches … curses …yawn

I’ll let you in on a little secret, I haven’t seen any of the Paranormal Activity films, and probably won’t anytime soon. So I don’t know how this fits into the overall franchise and to perfectly honest I don’t care. I’m not here to pass judgement on the entire series. The premise of this film is so basic that felt like a fan made effort bound straight for youtube. The action is spread so thin it barely justified the meager running time, which alarmingly is only 84 minutes long. The predictability and lack of tension whilst at first was a mere nuisance by the end of the film became excruciating, at several moments i was tempted to check my watch to find out how much i had left to endure. The fault lays squarely at the poor direction and overly simplistic story, director Christopher Landon has a long way to go as a storyteller, but in fairness this is only his second feature.

Undoubtedly fans of the franchise will get a kick, but for the uninitiated like myself i suggest you give it a wide berth. There are far better horror films out there to sink your teeth into. This is just the result of another franchise being squeezed for every wretched penny.

- Stu

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