PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES – Film Review

After the murder of Jesse Arista’s (Andrew Jacobs) neighbor Ana Sanchez (Gloria Sandoval), he undergoes a major transformation in his behavior. However, he remains unaware of the fact that his body is slowly being taken over by an evil spirit.

Rewatching Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones today brought me back to simpler times; when I was thirteen years old. My best friend and I went to see this film during its opening weekend because we both love horror movies, even still to this day. Back then though, we didn’t see too many horror movies in the theatre together, so whenever we did, it was really something to look forward to.

To be honest, I vividly remember talking to him about how excited we were to see this movie, although we both had not seen any of the previous movies in the franchise. We watched the trailer for The Marked Ones and thought it looked extremely creepy and thrilling, and so we knew that we had to go see it.

And so we did on its release weekend, and we walked out of the theatre saying how awesome and scary it was. Back when I was thirteen, every single time I saw a movie in the theatre, it automatically became my new favorite movie of all-time. It didn’t matter what film it was. But it’s safe to say that times have certainly changed for me.

But rewatching this film took me back to the days when I liked any movie in the world simply because it was a movie and if it entertained me even slightly, I said it was amazing. Watching it today, however, I think this is a really, really bad movie although it is definitely an improvement upon some of the other sequels in the series.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

The Marked Ones does do a couple of things to try to spice up the otherwise tried-and-true formula of the series by introducing a whole new set of characters, new locations, and mythos to the universe. Writer/director Christopher Landon, best known for his work on the phenomenal Happy Death Day movies, did do a good job directing this film and did his best to try to make us care for this franchise again, but even still, it didn’t work all the way.

I do appreciate the new mythology that the movie explores, but the problem is that it doesn’t explore it enough. Despite the fact that this is one of the longest entries in the series, it still suffers from extremely poor character development and a plot that feels like it’s not going anywhere. There are so many scenes where nothing happens, and it makes you wonder why you’re even watching the film at all if it’s not all that entertaining.

Also, some of the acting throughout The Marked Ones feels a little bit iffy but it’s not necessarily awful by any means. It absolutely comes nowhere near the levels of excellence Kathryn Newton brought to her performance in the fourth installment, but the acting here is just okay for the most part.

But aside from that, the film’s biggest problem is that it just simply is not scary. Five movies in, and the Paranormal Activity franchise shows here that it has few ideas as to how to make spirits and things flying off of walls scary. A loud sound and maybe a strange person appearing on screen is not scary, but rather, it’s startling for some. Unfortunately, the only truly startling thing about Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fact that people still paid to go see it.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones offers a nice change with a new location and added mythos, but it’s still devoid of impressive scares and characters that are interesting.

Overall Grade: D+

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive language, some violence, graphic nudity, and some drug use

Cast: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Renée Victor, Noemi Gonzalez, David Saucedo, Gloria Sandoval, Richard Cabral, Carlos Pratts, Juan Vasquez, Katie Featherston

Directed by: Christopher Landon

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures

Release Date: January 3, 2014

Running Time: 84 minutes

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