Not exactly a direct sequel to “Paranormal Activity 4,” “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is an interesting entry for this ongoing horror franchise. The latest film is about a young Latino (Andrew Jacobs) who is experiencing a number of unexplained events after the death of his neighbor. After doing some investigating with his friends Hector (Jorge Diaz) and Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh), Jesse begins to finds out that he might be the next target of a demonic entity.
“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” not only provide some good scares, it also expands upon the mythology of the coven as they behind provide human hosts for malevolent demons. The movie also features strong performances and great on-screen chemistry between Jacobs and Diaz that makes you believe that they have been friends forever. I had the opportunity to speak with Jacobs and Diaz about many things including their experiences working on the movie and their reaction to the twist at the end of the film.
Were you ever actually scared while filming?
Andrew Jacobs: Not really scared how people think we may have been. We just got a lot of weird vibes in certain places. In the film, we go to a botanica and it’s a real one. There’s a really weird room that we go into and there were some serious energy to it.
Jorge Diaz: It’s really creepy and a lot of the places we filmed at had their own specific energy to it. The basement was super run down and had crazy history. I doubt anyone had been in that basement recently. In that sense, you could feel a presence in some places.
Were any of you fans of the films before you filmed this movie?
Jacobs: I saw the first one. Not right away, but a while after and it was definitely scary. I was convinced it was real. Then I ended up seeing the fourth one when it came out in theaters…
Diaz: We actually saw that one together!
Jacobs: Yeah. We all saw it together with Gabrielle after even meeting with Chris (Landon) and getting our scripts and everything.
Diaz: It happened to be released while we were filming this one, so we just walked over and saw it.
Jacobs: By that time I had already caught up with all of them.
Diaz: I had seen all of them, but one in theaters. I saw the second on DVD. It’s definitely a different experience seeing it in a packed theater. It’s a lot of fun!
While you were shooting the film, was there a specific technique Christopher taught you in order to hold the camera correctly to get specific shots he wanted?
Jacobs: Well, most of the time Christopher would go up to Jorge and tell him, “This is what I want” mainly because they need to get the energy behind the camera. We’d have to synchronize people jumping and screaming on screen.
Diaz: Most of the stunts were done by Gonzalo (Amat), the DP, but every other thing was done by Andrew. It was a skill that you really had to develop. You have to think about how millions of people are going to watch what I’m looking at on this little screen, and while I’m filming I also have to stay in character and do the acting thing. Hit certain lines and stay in the moment and be able to improvise, because we were able to do that.
Did you get to improvise a lot?
Jacobs: The film kept evolving and we were always down to do whatever. We ended up having a lot of fun really, especially the first half hour.
Was it intimidating working with someone like Chris who has and endgame already in his mind?
Jacobs I was intimidated by everybody. This is my first thing ever, really. I’ve never done anything. Jorge has already done a few things: commercials, TV shows… Working with Christopher Landon was just an honor to me. He was so nice and cool.
Diaz: Christopher just made us feel really welcomed from the beginning. He made us feel like we were friends for years.
Jacobs: He took us through the process, step by step and a deep trust was established between the director and actors…
How did you guys become attached to this project in the first place?
Jacobs: We auditioned and didn’t even know it was Paranormal Activity when we did.
Diaz: We both got called in. a Mix and matching between actors and coincidentally, the first mix and match was with (Andrew) and as soon as we went in, Chris said, according to an interview I saw the other day, that he looked at the casting director and said “We’re done. This is it.” At the end of the day we ended up getting put together.
It looks like you guys are all pretty close, did you guys do something outside of filming to establish that chemistry, either through rehearsals or just hanging out?
Jacobs: Not really rehearsals. We just liked to hang out and we still do to this day. We would watch movies, hang out on birthdays. We’re still close so that chemistry was visible on screen.
Was there anything you liked to do between takes, like jokes and stuff?
Diaz: There were a lot of jokes and stuff that didn’t make the final cut (laughs). We had fun with the stunts, even just watching this guy do his stunts was fun for me.
Jacobs: There are a lot of stunts I did that didn’t end up making it to the final cut of the film. Like hanging from a crane, dropping from 20 feet.
Diaz: The wheels on my skateboard kept getting stuck, so they had to keep filming that, I remember.
Like you just mentioned, you had a lot of stunts. Which scenes would you say were the most difficult to film? The scenes were you were doing stunts or the scenes where you were more serious and dealing with the more dramatic parts?
Jacobs: I they were fairly the same. I would say they’re equal in difficulty. One isn’t really more difficult than the other. They’re just very different. I was having a great time throughout the whole thing. I’m a lot more serious in real life, very to myself.
Diaz: I would say the more serious stuff was difficult for me. I felt like there was a certain pressure to do it right and realistic. I’m very critical when it comes to myself, so I have to believe it in order to feel good about it. If I don’t believe it, how will the audience believe it? There are some crazy things that happen in the movie, so we’d have to make sure to believe we were freaked out.
What did you guys think of the last act of the movie? That twist? What was your reaction?
Diaz: It came out of left field for me. I was like “What?!”
Jacobs: That didn’t come up until a lot after, because the script was constantly developing.
Diaz: I kept saying that it had to be done really well, because I didn’t want people to be taken out of it and think it wasn’t realistic. But I feel that for the fans it’s such an awesome surprise. They were probably like “Oh My God!” and it opens up so many possibilities for the future. There are so many things to discover in the supernatural world, especially in the Hispanic world with mysticism, superstitions, brujeria, santeria and other things that would just be great to learn more about.
“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is now playing in Hialeah theaters. Click here for showtimes.