RICHARD CROUSE

REVIEW: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Posted By: Richard Crouse · 1/3/2014 8:24:00 AM

The “Paranormal Activity” movies have made a fortune off things that go bump in the night. Never before had rippling sheets and shadows in corners been so terrifying.

You might think that over the course of four “found footage” films we might have had our fill of horrors shot by iPhones and security cameras and yet here’s “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” the fifth movie in the series. The concept is essentially the same but instead of calling it a sequel it’s labeled a spin off.

To connect it to the others “PA” veterans Molly Ephraim and Katie Featherston appear and the found footage idea is firmly in place, but it focuses on two new characters, Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), teenaged knuckleheads of the Johnny Knoxville school.      

Eighteen-year old Jesse buys a video camera with his graduation money and like everyone else in the “PA” movies proceeds to live his life on amateur video, but after he and Hector do a “Sherlock Holmes” break into their dead neighbor’s apartment to investigate strange things start to happen.

Seems the elderly woman downstairs was into black magic and following their illicit visit, Jesse has nightmares, wakes up with bite marks and some odd new powers. Like a demonic Hulk, you won’t like him when he gets angry. Is it puberty or could it be that he is possessed?

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is more of what we’ve come to expect from these movies—unexplained shadows, weird camera angles, a few “Don’t open that door!” moments and no real thrills until the last twenty minutes—but an engaging cast and some Creep Factor Four demonic action makes “The Marked Ones” a good Saturday matinee movie.

Of course it’s really silly. What makes us sure Jesse is possessed? Well, he’s moody and eighteen… and divide eighteen by three and what do you get? Do the math and prepare to have your mind blown!

Or not.

These “PA” movies have not been successful because they make sense. No, they’re successful because they deliver some laughs, some white-knuckle tension and the occasional BOO! moment. “The Marked Ones” checks all those boxes and does a good job of building tension in the last twenty minutes while delivering an ending that brings the series full circle and will tickle fans who have seen all the movies.

2 ½ STARS

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