Directed by: Christopher Landon
Written By: Christopher Landon and Oren Peli
Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh
Produced by: Paramount Pictures, Blumhouse Productions, Solan Films, and Room 101
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones follows a group of friends from the city of Oxnard, California. The film follows the same found footage formula that was debuted to us by The Blair Witch Project, back in 1999, but brings it out of the woods and into the inner city.
Jesse (Andrew Jacobs), a teenager who has just graduated from high school, buys a camera from a local pawn shop, with money he received from his graduation. He plans to use the camera to record his neighborhood form his point of view. The housing complex that he lives in, along with his Father and Grandmother, is host to a variety of personalities that seem to mesh rather. Well, everyone, except his downstairs neighbor, Ana (Gloria Sandoval).
Ana is the outcast of the residents. Her secretive demeanor and nasty attitude coerce whispers of rumor throughout the complex as children fear that her witching ways may bring them harm. The older residents tend to leave her be and the adolescents and young adults tease her. Jesse’s bedroom is right above Ana’s apartment and he can sometimes hear strange noises coming from below. Jesse and his friends, Marisol and Hector, connect his new video camera to a television and lower it down the heating vent to her apartment below. The shocking video shows a naked Ana performing some sort of ritual on a pregnant woman. The situation scares them enough to raise the camera back up and fear they may have been caught.
The next day, Ana’s corpse is taken from her apartment on a stretcher. Her death conjures curiosity within the trio of friends and they opt to investigate the widowed apartment. The rooms are rather plan and empty. However, a back room reveals stacks of VHS tapes, ritualistic items, demonic icons, and various pictures of Jesse. The situation freaks the friends out and they retreat away from the feeling of evil.
Jesse soon notices a large bite mark on his arm and he begins to develop strange abilities, such as enhanced strength, and other strange and fun abilities. However, his fun is short lived as an apparent evil entity moves in and begins to take over Jesse’s persona, leaving Marisol and Hector to bring him back to reality and save the day, or so they hope.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones does follow the same found footage recording that the other titles in the franchise have based their concept on. However, the setting and mood are different than the previous entriesin the series that we have seen. This brings a new perspective to the film that was not quite there before. Prior releases in the franchise began to feel stale and repetitive, relying on new gimmicks to hold the viewer’s attention. The Marked Ones draws the viewer back in and allows us to see the franchise in a different light.
What sets this film apart from the others is that it provides a bit of an explanation as to what the demon wants and how it has been passed on from one victim to the next. It fills some gaps in the lore that was hinted at in the previous films, and brings them all together in a creative way that opens the door for many more possibilities within the franchise.
I would rate Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as a solid 4 out of 5 stars. There are parts that seem too ridiculous or predictable, but overall the material is fairly well-written and the actors portrayed the characters quite well. What really brought the film up from a potential three stars is the inter-connectivity with the other plots, while still maintaining the ability to be a standalone movie. I definitely recommend watching Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones with your favorite scary movie buddy and prepare yourself for a terrific tale of terror.
Check out the Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones trailer: