Movie Review: Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2013)

Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones still - little girls with black eyes

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones may be enough to satisfy the cult fans of the franchise, but to neutrals, it’s just another found footage horror flick with little surprises

Redundant and cheaply done, and yet loads of people are willing to pay for it. Production budget of every Paranormal Activity instalment was around $2 million but each one of them could end up bringing in over a hundred million in revenue. No kidding. So you can’t really blame them for making one garbage of a sequel after another ’cause nobody wouldn’t wanna make easy money, not unless you’re one of those who would only agree with sequels if the script was better than the previous instalments’, and you had new inspiring ways to entertain all audience and not just the hardcore fans. So yeah, with all that being said, I thought Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was rubbish.

Like the previous two sequels of the franchise (and many other similar films of the genre), it relies heavily on slow walking in the dark, sudden loud sounds and hand-held camera shifts to sudden appearance of whatever to terrify the audience. Cheap, cheap tricks but still effective nonetheless. If you’ve seen all the instalments and plenty of other horror flicks, you’d know the drill – it starts off with a bit of character development with lame humour, characters visit places in the premise despite it being unwelcoming and obviously dangerous, possessed character starts to experience gradual changes in appearance and behaviour, friends go investigate on how to save him and then an exorcism scene before it all ends with a climatic hide-and-seek/chasing game between the possessed ones and the cameraman. Not much kitchen activity this time, thankfully. Basically, there’s nothing really refreshingly new here. It could’ve perhaps been a bit more terrifying if Andrew Jacobs, the actor playing Jesse the main character, was more haunting, but he’s okay performance is just not powerful enough to get under anybody’s skin.

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The pacing of this instalment, however, does seem a bit quicker than the previous ones, with loads of abrupt jump cuts editing. At least this time they’ve managed to come up with an excuse for the supernatural being to not execute what it wants immediately from the very beginning instead of fooling around with objects. It has lesser buildup, which I thought is not necessarily a bad thing if the director is capable of fully developing the premise of the film in a shorter time frame.

The only difference between this spinoff and the sequels, besides the Latino characters I think, is that this one has a murder scene to play around with, a Chronicle-like situation and guns (aww yeaaa) as the bridge to the predictable outcome of the characters. The purpose of the ending is beyond confusing and pointless (refer to spoiler below), and it doesn’t seem that we could figure it out ourselves. And certainly, those who don’t follow the franchise as closely would leave the cinema uttering WHAT THE FUCK in displeasure. I’ve seen all the instalments and yet I was struggling to not only understand the reasoning behind the ending, but to link up all the characters as well. With all the attractive ladies in the film, they should’ve just made Sexual Activity instead ’cause at least making films like that don’t ever require them to make any sense.

What I would’ve named the film: “Abnormal Camera Activity: More Retarded Ones”

It’s funny how… many people involved in this are using the camera the way they do. I’m not even sure if the cameramen for reporters are as dedicated to recording everything in front of them even when in grave danger. The characters here aren’t just holding the camera, they’re holding it up at head level while running away from a swarm of hostile demon-possessed people, and it’s not like they need the light all the time. It’s just so retarded. They might as well just do it in first person view, but that would give them no excuse for low value production.

Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones still meme eye shit

Dumb randomness:

Ali Rey, a survivor from Paranormal Activity 2 (2011), is one of the few characters from the previous instalments to appear very briefly in the film. She’s now a grownup (looking pretty hot I have to say) and she seems to know everything about the possessed and what they’re doing, she even knows where they gather and yet she doesn’t seem to be eager to go find her missing brother (Hunter/Wyatt) there with these new characters who seek her out for help. It is not explained why Ali knows so much and what she’s been doing. And then the time travelling ending just doesn’t make any sense (Insidious 2 anyone?). The bunch head over to the demon’s hideout, just like the previous instalment, gets surrounded by a swarm of the possessed and the one recording with camera (again, so happens to be the one surviving despite having only one hand free) is being hunted down till he has no where else to go but to hide in a closet which somehow transports him to the ending of the first film where Katie kills Micah. So I guess more horror film sequels are going to be having time travelling in their plots now? Why oh why…

Censorship in Malaysia: Nudity was censored with mosaic but other than that, it’s really hard to say if anything else was cut as the film’s editing style itself has frequent abrupt skipping on its own.

Second opinion: I sort of dragged my girlfriend to watch this despite knowing that she cannot take any sort of horror movies at all. She watched parts of it while having her bag prepared to cover her eyes. When I asked her what she thought of it, her answer was simply, “Sucks.”

Verdict: The fans of the franchise might love it, those who’re not may be confused with certain things. Some scenes do scare effectively with cheap old tricks but that gives nobody any new reason to watch this unless they don’t mind paying just to see a bridge to future expansions.

Rating: 1.5 / 5

Paranormal Activity The marked ones poster malaysia
Rated: 18
Genre: Horror
Running Time: 84 minutes
Director-writer: Christopher Landon
Cast: Richard Cabral, Carlos Pratts, Eddie J. Fernandez

Synopsis: “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is about a Catholic inquiry into a suspected demonic possession, set in a parallel universe relative to the films in the main series. It is a Latino “cousin” to the series, and not an official spin-off or sequel, and it will feature the demon from the “Paranormal Activity” series.

Malaysia Release Date: January 2nd 2013
Local Distributor: United International Pictures (UIP)
Studio(s): Blumhouse Productions, Solana Films, Room 101, Inc.

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