“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is the flag-ship of a “Paranormal Activity” spin-off franchise. The film is directed by Christopher Landon and stars Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Richard Cabral, Gloria Sandoval, Carlos Pratts, Catherine Toribio, Juan Vasquez, Molly Ephraim, Katie Featherston, and Micah Sloat. “The Marked Ones” brings the paranormal to a new zip code, adding some supernatural beliefs from the Latino point-of-view, as well the “bruja”.
The story revolves around an apartment community’s residentss, Jesse who, after purchasing a video camera finds more than he wanted when the reclusive lady in the apartment below his dies a violent death. The neighbor was a bruja and soon after her passing some strange things begin to happen with Jesse and his friends. It doesn’t help that young friends experiment with magic for themselves to test the bruja’s practices.
Now I personally found this film a bit boring. For nearly half of the film very little supernatural happens. It was like watching candid vid clips of ordinary peoples through daily humdrum affairs. Your basic dares, shenanigans, and trivial banter permeate the screen. I had to keep reminding myself to be patient and that this is a paranormal “horror” film. The paranormal finally kicks in on the film, at first having more similarities to “Chronicles” than evil spirits, utilizing the standard special effects tricks, however it soon gets into the normal groove of paranormal. The story is a strong concept that just seems to get cluttered with half hearted direction. One cool thing about the film was the cast’s ability to make the drama, banter and interaction on screen seem genuine. The dialog maintain a constant fluidity from start to finish. There is a mild sense of inability to sell the paranormal fright from a couple of the actors when the crap hits the fan but it is minimal and soon the cast is back in sync.
The effects and music score are standard, expectable tricks of the trade which keep “The Marked Ones” in pace with the original “Paranormal Activity” series. The atmosphere does get a little creepy but I never really felt any chills or thrills. The film really falls flat in the horror department. I can’t remember any scene where I jumped, or cringed from the fright intended pieces to this film. Again the story is a nice, fresh spin that highlights a normalized slice of life in an area of society most people don’t see. Plus I love me some bruja heritage highlighted in horror or film in general. “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is a fail in my opinion but the audience that loved the original franchise will probably like this film as well. I do need to add that the concept of personalized, in-hand, video documentary style for this film does more to help the whole found footage subgenre than hurt it.