“The Marked Ones” is the fifth entry in the successful “Paranormal Activity” franchise. Though the last few films have lacked originality and scares, they were still profitable enough for the studio to want to continue the series. Christopher Landon, who wrote P.A. 2-4 pulls double duty here as writer and director. He obviously knows how these films work, but is that enough? Unfortunately no. The Oxnard, California setting and all mainly Latino cast sets “The Marked Ones” apart from the previous films, but it’s really just a retread of what we have seen before.
This time around, the story is centered on Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) a recent high school graduate who has suddenly learned that something strange is going on. His best friend Carlos (Eddie Fernandez) happens to always be around with a video camera to film everything. As the two try to figure out what is going on and what Jessie’s recently murdered neighbor has to do with it, Jessie begins to go through some supernatural changes.
What works in “The Marked Ones” is mostly the characters. This is actually the first time in any of the films where the main players were actually fun to watch. There are actually some very funny moments here, mainly before the weird stuff starts happening. The problem is that once the scary stuff comes into play, it’s never actually scary. At the screening I attended, there were a lot more laughs than screams.
Because the “Paranormal Activity” movies are so cheap to make, I bet if “The Marked Ones” pulled in half the money the last one did, Paramount would still make a sixth film. The one reason to actually make one more movie would be to tie everything up. Don’t let the lack of a number in the title fool you, this is a true sequel. It’s just not a very good one.
By: Marc Ferman