When you reach the fifth installment of a horror franchise, it's usually a sign that things are getting pretty darn tired...usually. "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is a half off shoot, half next installment in this series of found footage films and while it was somewhat shoehorned into the mythology of the previous films, this film actually would have been better served to stand alone and ditch the tired found footage device as this could have been a half way decent horror flick.
After the mysterious death of a local witch in his apartment building complex, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) is "marked" and as he starts exhibiting strange abilities and begins to be pursued by mysterious forces as his family and friends will stop at nothing to save him.
Ultimately this is a story that feels like it got adapted in order to fit not only the mythology but the found footage genre. This is one of those instances where the gimmick of the shaky cam was too much and actually brought the entire film down.
Basically a standard demon possession film, it at least has a fresh setting taking place in the Hispanic community with some decently subtle twists and turns as it teases elements of Mexican folklore and mysticism but nothing comes of it. Writer/Director Christopher Landon who also serves as writer and producer on parts 2 through 4 is well versed in the mythology of it all as there is at least a somewhat interesting twist ending but the shaky cam found footage style that this story is forced into simply takes far too many logic jumps in order to keep it going and it gets a little laughable after a while as big things in the narrative, just don't make any sense because they have to keep the found footage style alive.
It's a story that would have been easily serviceable and maybe even entertaining, but the gimmick just dragged the material down making sure that were more annoyed then we were invested with these characters who had little to no actual development to them, despite a couple of halfway decent jump scares along the way.
The young unknown cast was actually fairly credible as they just had to get from point A to point B along the narrative. No one has to do any legitimate character acting in this one, but they buy into it all and do their best to make it work, no matter how shaky the camera gets.
There is at least some raw potential in how "Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" all unfolds, especially considering the twist ending of the film, but the found footage gimmick of this series is getting so tired that no one would honestly care if it got dropped altogether as there is enough meat on this narrative bones' to make something that would make for an at least watchable horror film.
2 out of 5 stars.
Picture and sound on the Blu-Ray are fine and the special features include an extended cut of the film with an extra 16 minutes along with the theatrical version and some behind the scenes Found Footage.