Paranormal Activity - The Marked Ones (15)
Dir. Christopher Landon
Reviewed by Matt 'Ghost Buster' Adcock (@Cleric20)
"This is not a gift..."
If you're a 'found footage' Paranormal Activity fan then you might well be interested in this 'spin off' / side story to the main cannon which has seen various families beset by the forces of darkness. Here the story picks up in June 2012 in Oxnard, California with the graduation from high school of young Jesse (Andrew Jacobs). Jesse thinks he's just an average 18 year old until he finds a bite on his arm and develops some freaky superhuman abilities - think 'Chronicle' but with spookier / darker overtones.
Jessie's friends Hector (Jorge Diaz) and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) are worried - things start to go bump in the night, an old 'Simon' game begins to have the power to answer questions correctly and when two thugs attack Jessie one evening, he somehow manages to blast them through the air in a most kick ass fashion.
Looking for answers leads the youngsters to their downstairs neighbour who might just be a witch... And when she dies mysteriously one night they decide to check her basement and find photos of Jesse, and his family in a black magic kind of set up... All is not OK. But being young and dumb Jessie goes back to the basement and is confronted by ghostly figures, including those of young Katie and Kristi (Chloe Csengery and Jessica Tyler Brown) from previous Paranormal Activity films.
From then on it all goes kinda Grand Theft Auto: Blair Witch with a rare action scene seeing some gang banging homies taking on knife wielding witches with shotguns!
"cue explanation from star of previous PA film (pt2)"
The ending does a nice job of connecting the other films in the franchise by returning Jessie to the home from the original Paranormal Activity - which shows that at least the filmmakers are trying to maintain a mythos that can hopefully move to a conclusion of the series soon (Paranormal Activity 5 opens later this year).
The Marked Ones isn't a great film but it does have some good scenes and if you've seen the other 4 movies then you'll get a kick out of the references and cameo characters that pop up. It looks like the box office is diminishing for the Paranormal Activity series (part 4 only made 1/2 as much cash as the first one) but as The Marked Ones only costs $5 million to make, even an ok $34 million return in the first week shows that it's still delivering positive returns.
"that's going to sting a bit"
This Paranormal Activity is by far the swearest, most 'hip' of the series but it certainly isn't the scariest. At least is doesn't have the stupid Xbox product placement of part 4 but it does feel like it's time to maybe finish off the franchise now before all goodwill is lost.
The Paranormal Activity films are different to others that depict demonic forces as they haven't gone for any real counterbalancing force of good / God. It would be interesting to see somehow the baddie forces here would hold up in the face of an agent of the Almighty - as another 'found footage' horror movie 'The Last Exorcism' stated “If you believe in God, then you have to believe also in demons...”
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3.5 - better than pt 4 / not as good as pt 3)...
Awesomeness ööö – even maniac witches fall when shotgunned!
Laughs öö – some dark humour
Horror ööö – tries for horror, some of it works
Babes öö – Walsh has a great smile
Spiritual Enlightenment -öö – evil is not a plaything