Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Director Christopher B. Landon is back with another installment of the Paranormal Activity series. If you’re a fan of any of its 4 predecessors, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones will be right up your alley.

Jesse finds himself floating in air and suddenly having the strength to throw a few gangsters (who have been pummeling him) clear across a basketball court. But the Hispanic high school graduate played by Andrew Jacobs is far from thrilled by his newfound superhuman powers, especially when these “gifts” came to him after he went poking about his murdered neighbor’s house with his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz).

The 2, who trespassed into the victim’s sealed house, found boxes of childhood footage of the main protagonists in the Paranormal Activity series –  bloodstains, books, and black magic paraphernalia like sheets of paper containing talismans and mysterious potions.

After stumbling upon their creepy find, Jesse woke up the next day with a strange bite mark on his arm, long strands of jet-black hair inexplicably growing out of his eye sockets and Herculean strength.

Best friend Hector got a kick videotaping stunts showing off Jesse’s prowess and uploading these on the internet, but he’s soon given the cold shoulder by Jesse, who grows stranger by the minute – not only does the new Jesse shun all who were close to him, he even tortures his own dog, who’s now petrified of him.

Concerned for Jesse’s wellbeing, Hector and Jesse’s other good friend Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) go on a quest to find out what went wrong.

Jacobs and Diaz displayed a natural chemistry as best pals who spent most of their time goofing around and their performances energized the Paranormal Activity franchise. Their friendship is one that’s relatable and likable, exhibiting on-screen camaraderie that rivals that of Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat’s in the original Paranormal Activity (2007).

Jacobs also managed to transform convincingly from a regular teenager to a demon-possessed slayer as he carefully portrayed the horrifying physical changes that Jesse went through during his possession.

Director Landon, who wrote every Paranormal Activity movie screenplay except for the first, seemed to have given up on the subtle scare approaches that the earlier productions were famous for.

The second half of this film invites the audience on an intense theme park ride with shocking revelations – think along the lines of a Santeria-style dungeon altar, the dead-eyed sisters Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) as well as the witch-hunting gangbanger with a shotgun – all of which built up to a horrific climatic ending.

The final moments of this installment are particularly memorable, leaving the audience utterly bewildered as the credits roll with a lingering spookiness afterwards.

The Marked Ones can be easily described as the boldest Paranormal Activity to date, and much of that’s to Landon’s credit. What sets this film apart from its former installments, besides the refreshing use of male protagonists, is a decent storyline, which allows for investigation and discovery – 2 vital elements that were clearly missing from the last Paranormal Activity flick.

The Marked Ones also delivered an intense build-up towards the end of the film. The audience will feel the characters’ exhaustion (attempting to run away from the coven of witches) as the cinematography achieved via head-mounted cameras allowed the audience to go through a their escape – albeit only visually.

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is definitely the Paranormal Activity movie you’ve been waiting for. It’s got good scares (creepy as hell to be more exact), humor, and more action compared to its tired former flicks.

Rating: 3/5
Release date: Jan 2
Runtime: 84 minutes
Language: English
Censorship rating: M18
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Director: Christopher Beau Landon
Main actors: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh

About Zoer Ng

Born to a Russian-Chinese mother and Korean father, Zoer grew up with the best of “multiple worlds” where she was exposed to a mix of extreme culture immersion. Throughout her schooling, her family has travelled and moved extensively which allowed her to befriend ”hapas” around the world and appreciate the essence behind what seem like a single notion – “you can be miserable pretty much anywhere, and be happy anywhere too”. Having been to more than 20 countries, she finds comfort especially in those that haven’t been swept up into global commerce and where people live traditional lifestyles next to nurturing nature. An aspiring documentary filmmaker, she looks up to Zana Briski, who is well known for her documentary feature – Born Into Brothels. Zoer hopes to unearth new stories and shed light on the struggles among third-world nations. With an inexplicable obsession with anything frightening and an uncontrollable love for potatoes, she can be found snacking on the tuberous crop (cooked, of course) while having her eyes glued to the latest horror film - The Haunting in Connecticut being her ultimate favorite.

Leave a comment

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *