“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” isn’t half as scary as three of its four predecessors, but its strong characters and clever story layers do prove the mythology is worth expanding.
“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” kicks off at Jesse’s (Andrew Jacobs) high school graduation. After the festivities wrap up, Jesse talks his way into holding on to the family camcorder and uses it to spy on his creepy neighbor, Anna (Gloria Sandoval). It’s all harmless fun until Anna is murdered and Jesse gets the bright idea to snoop around her apartment. Turns out, eerie bloodstains aren’t the only things Anna left behind; unbeknownst to Jesse, she also left her mark on him.
“The Marked Ones” is far from a franchise favorite, but it is an adequate installment. Gone are the days of the late night time-lapse. “The Marked Ones” is almost entirely handheld and while the camerawork is a bit dizzying, the change is refreshing. The whole film is shot by Jesse and his buddy Hector (Jorge Diaz) and while you may wonder why they don’t drop the camera to run for their lives, unlike many found footage films, that thought won’t cross your mind until after it’s over. The high school graduation is a very sensible way to land the camera in Jesse’s hands and then from there, Jesse and Hector do exactly what you’d think two teenage boys might do with a camera – slide down a staircase in a laundry basket and spy on their weirdo neighbor. By the time they’re recording the scary stuff, the movie’s already established a strong tone and beat, so you’re never compelled to question their motivation to keep filming.
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