Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
A vaguely spooky Latino twist on the found footage subgenre that just feels repetitive
Found footage has become the most over used device in horror. The makers of Paranormal Activity not only hold the dubious honour of ushering in the new age of shaky cam cinema but are also the masters of this overcrowded sub-genre. We’ve already had a Japanese take with Paranormal Activity: Tokyo Night; now we get the Latino remix in The Marked Ones.
Set in an apartment block in LA, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) stumble across all kinds of hocus pocus after their downstairs neighbour is murdered. Adding South American mysticism and catholic superstition to the mix here’s more of an Exorcist vibe for this instalment as Jesse becomes possessed by a demon.
Writer/director Christopher Landon obviously knows his Paranormal Activity lore (he co-wrote the last three instalments in the main series) and gives us the most action-packed entry in the franchise yet. However the subtlety has been replaced by gimmicky jump scares: where once phantom footprints or a ruffled bed sheet could make the audience quake in fear, now they throw flying gangsters, demon assisted skateboarding stunts and creepy kids at the screen to little effect. The saving grace is that PA fans will at least enjoy how The Marked Ones ties into the rest of the series.
As with all found footage films the characters film everything. They refuse to down cameras while making phone calls or watching TV, let alone being attacked by a coven of witches. However with Paranormal Activity films all lapses in logic can be forgiven if it delivers the goods. So is The Marked Ones actually scary? Unfortunately not. The law of diminishing returns mean this is now an exercise repetition: the tricks have all lost their power to terrify and The Marked Ones is just a vaguely spooky shadow of its a former self.