Sunday, January 5, 2014

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - Review


Over the years, we have seen the paranormal horror genre skyrocket into popularity with the release of such films as Insidious, Mama, The Conjuring, and The Haunting in Connecticut.  But one franchise has topped the rest, Paranormal Activity.

In the franchise's newest release, a spin-off titled Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, we pick up after the end-credit scene from Paranormal Activity 4 in which we see an old woman in a Hispanic store who, in Spanish, says "this is only the beginning".  And she was right.

The film follows a young Hispanic man, named Jesse, as he begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things.  He soon discovers that he has been marked, but for what purpose, he is unsure.  As Jesse and his friends investigate further, they are brought down a dark path that is inexplicably linked to the past hauntings of Kristi and Katie.

Written and directed by veteran Paranormal Activity scribe, Christopher Landon, this film brought the franchise to a place I never thought it would go.  His interesting story has opened up the possibilities for these movies to continue on with fresh stories and ideas.  They are no longer locked into one narrow story.  This franchise now has the ability to go global if it so chooses, which is great.

With films like this, they tend to use relatively unknown actors, to help you believe in the reality of the story, which they did a great job of.  But there were a couple people I recognized from other things.  The main one was Molly Ephraim, who reprises her role as Katie's stepdaughter, Ali.  I know Molly from the ABC sitcom Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen, and this is a totally different character from the one on that show.  Another was Renee Victor, who played Jesse's grandmother.  She's been in several things, including ER and House of Payne, but the role I recognized her from was Lupita on the Showtime series, Weeds.  But as for the unknowns, Andrew Jacobs did a nice job as the main character, Jesse.  Other than a few things here and there, it was a fairly solid performance.  The one nice thing about the casting of this film was that we got to see Katie and Micah once again.  But I won't spoil how.

The film isn't without its flaws, however.  The main part that I disliked was the scene when Jesse is trying out his new powers with is friend, Hector.  It's somewhat comical and pulled me out of the film.  I feel like it was unnecessary to portray it the way they did.  I was also confused by the scene where Jesse is pulling something out of the corner of his eye (this scene is briefly shown in the trailer).  I believe it was done simply for "creepy value" and nothing more.  

Other than that, I really enjoyed this film and plan to see it again, because the story was definitely different than anything we've seen from this franchise thus far.  It has a fresh feeling and has reinvigorated my anticipation for future films, the next of which, Paranormal Activity 5, is due to release on October 24, 2014.

Josh's Rating:  7.5/10

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