“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones,” the fifth in the found footage franchise though not necessarily “Paranormal Activity 5,” is more of a spinoff than a continuation, but the central conceit remains the same: idiots with video cameras go looking for trouble. They find it. They die. The end.
The “Paranormal” series is easily the most cost-effective horror franchise on record, raking in boatloads of dough off a couple of cheap spooky jolts without ever tying things up at the denouement. With each passing film, it’s gradually becoming more and more clear that there is some sort of witch thing happening, but I’ll be a ghost myself by the time they finally let the cat out of the bag.
“The Marked Ones” is not the worst “Paranormal” movie, but it is the biggest letdown because it at least tried to move in a new direction. Rather than explore the sister-of-the-babysitter-of-the-neighbor-of-the-cousin angle I’m sure they’re bound to get to eventually, this one terrorizes the young denizens of a Latin community who don’t even put their GoPros down long enough to go to the bathroom or eat dinner. It seems the neighbor downstairs is dabbling in the occult, and it isn’t long until our heroes are spontaneously levitating and pulling hair strands from their eye sockets.
At this point, the people who still go to the “Paranormal Activity” movies pretty much know the drill — first half kinda boring, second half all hell breaking loose — so the best they can hope for is a couple cheap shrieks to go along with their popcorn. “The Marked Ones” is no better or worse than the last few “Paranormals,” but if the girl sitting next to me — her head buried deep into her boyfriend’s chest for the majority of the mayhem — is the movie’s intended audience, you can’t argue “The Marked Ones” doesn’t get the job done.
★★ out of ★★★★
Rated R. 84 minutes. 2014.
Director: Christopher Landon. Starring: Andrew Jacobs, Eddie J. Fernandez.