I don't know about you guys but it must be nice to have a name as huge as Paranormal Activity. Similar to the last days of the SAW franchise it seems as if more effort is being made on securing a yearly release than making a film of substance. Even though the Paranormal Activity franchise is still in its infancy they are a huge enough commodity to allow anything they make to reach worldwide audiences. So this weekend we see the release of the 5th film in the series and deemed spin off Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones. While it did follow traditional PA tricks and gags, Marked Ones felt more like a Cheech and Chong meets Satan than their normal suburban night footage film horror.
The good thing about Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones is the film is wildly entertaining from the moment it begins. There are tons of laughs that i’m sure will make all movie watchers get a feeling they are being set up for something big later. The film follows Andrew Jacobs as Jesse a recent high school grad looking to enjoy the start of the summer with his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz). The two have his fathers new camera to play with and go on a rampage of documenting everything. Soon after they notice some weird things happening in the apartment below them. I feel there will be tons of people heading out to see this so of course I won’t reveal any spoilers. I will just say that the first part of the film is enjoyable enough for the price of admission to the film. With that being said the downfall of the film is non existence of horror.
Look I know we all are sick and tired of the string theory scares created by PA but thats one of the things that solidifies the franchise. They based their films on old school set ups instead of using an overhaul of CGI. That’s one of the things hardcore supernatural fans have enjoyed about the films while watching the night vision cams. So you can expect some of those once again but they hold no ground to the frightening scenes from the first four films. I found myself many times waiting for something to jump out of a frame and startle me but I can only recall a few times they achieved that feeling. By the time the scary stuff starts to happen the plot becomes so jumbled and rushed that you are trying to piece together what's on screen instead of being afraid. This will be the thing that will lose it for most hardcore horror fans. We are some impatient folks aren't we? Yes indeed and when you arrive towards the end of this film you may be left confused and unsure of what you just witnessed.
In my opinion this could have worked tons more as a web series. As I explained earlier with a name like Paranormal Activity it’s hard for this to go anywhere but the theaters. So I’ll understand if this has a successful opening weekend but I think you'll agree this really wasn't a box office type film. This felt like a spin off for sure but not of some key character in the series but of some random vatoe in south central Los Angeles. Once you see how they tie it all together I think you will agree with me. This film would be a great kick off to a television series or even in written format. If that eventually happens then it will make Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones a legitimate entry to the series. For now it’s just a partially entertaining supernatural film that’s a tad less creative than Ghost Team One. I’ll be curious to your reactions on Marked Ones but i’ll think you will agree there were plenty of laughs but not much else.
Paranormal Activity hits theaters everywhere this Friday January 3rd. It is directed by Christopher Landon and stars Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, and Gloria Sandoval. It’s rated R and has a running time of 84 minutes.