Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the fifth installment of the Paranormal Activity franchise, although it is not a direct sequel. It is a spin-off of the franchise, its characters not directly involved with the rest of the series. As such, it is not to be confused with the upcoming Paranormal Activity 5: The Ghost Dimension.
In The Marked Ones, recent high school graduate Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) start filming their day-to-day encounters. After his neighbor dies inexplicably, Jesse and Hector break into her apartment to investigate. They come across a journal of “spells,” which they use.
Over the course of the next few days, strange things begin to happen. When beat up by two thugs, an unexplained force protects Jesse by throwing the two assailants into the air. Jesse soon finds that it is impossible for him to fall. Through a game of Simon, he is able to communicate with some unseen being that answers his questions (except, of course, the question “are you good?”).
The first half hour of this film is interesting. Jesse and Hector play off of each other well, and even before Jesse is given his mysterious powers the chemistry between the two make their dumb activities fun to watch. One scene involving a firecracker is particularly well-choreographed. Of course, the friends’ antics get old fast, as they have nothing worthwhile to motivate them.
That is, until they realize the dark secret behind the spell. Then, well, then everything goes downhill. The mythology behind the “marked ones” is nothing to write home about. It is pretty standard possession mythos. The film crosses paths with the other films in the franchise, but in ways that are so tangential that they are unrewarding, even to fans of the franchise.
As Jesse’s body gets slowly taken over by this mysterious curse, he becomes more aggressive and less humane. Scenes depicting this gradual change are interesting. In a grocery store, he starts a fight with a stranger, to the horror and confusion of his friends.
The problem with this slow transformation is that it is accompanied with a rushed climax. Everything conforms into chaos quickly and without coherence. Then, we get a final scene that is absurd in its abrupt turn. I won’t spoil it, in case you want to watch this film, but it is an attempt to do something surprising and novel that fails.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a slapdash attempt at connecting a stand alone possession horror film with the Paranormal Activity franchise. Any initial intrigue that is developed with Jesse and his powers is quickly defused by flat scares and uninteresting plot development.
As always, thanks for reading!
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is currently available to rent/buy on Amazon Video here.
Have you seen Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones? If so, what did you think? What do you think of the Paranormal Activity franchise? Let me know in the comments!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)