Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
Despite feelings that the Paranormal Activity franchise had finally run its course after a seemingly unnecessary and decidedly mundane fourth film, Paramount seem set to prove that there is life yet in the series with a fifth sequel The Marked Ones.
Continuing in the same vein as its predecessors, the footage is filmed in a found-film style – all shaky camera angles, disquieting close-ups and sudden scene changes. Rather than entering the world of Katie Featherston however, the series’ main demonically possessed protagonist, we find ourselves amid a Latino housing community in downtown LA, following two recent high school graduates, Jesse and Hector. Embracing their new-found freedom the boys pass the summer performing juvenile stunts on their new handheld camera, yet things take a macabre turn when they accidentally film their neighbour, Anna, performing an occult ritual. After Anna’s mysterious demise the boys explore her abandoned apartment, discovering evidence of satanic rite and mysterious tapes and journals. The morning after, Jesse discovers a nauseating bite on his arm and an ability to perform supernatural feats setting us off down the film’s dark path of terror.
Director Christopher Landon does a good job of creating the humdrum reality, seen in the first film, into which the supernatural slowly seeps and weaves its catastrophic effects. Andrew Jacobs as Jesse and Jorge Diaz as Hector ease us, the audience, into this new setting with authentic comic performances, complemented by Jesse’s caricatured yet playfully amusing grandma. Largely however, the film falls short through its abundance of cliché. Hackneyed horror film features such as glass-eyed ghost children, satanic shrines, shattered crosses and spooked animals fail to frighten, while features such as the electronic family game-turned-Ouija board are laughable rather than chilling.
Where Paranormal Activity’s initial offering teased the senses, steadily building tension to the point where the mere creak of a door sent shivers down the spine, The Marked Ones departs from these simple scare tactics, offering big, crass thrills that question the story’s credibility and undermine the unsettling subtle frights to which Paranormal Activity owes its success.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is released nationwide on 1st January 2014.
Watch the trailer for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones here: