Paranormal Activity 3 and 4 were not the greatest. The latter was really bad in how it handled the franchise’s continuity and it seemed to indicate that Paramount was forcing out annual releases to milk the series and run it into the ground.
Needless to say, we were very worried when a spinoff was announced dubbed The Marked Ones that would focus on Latino characters and debut in the same year as the next core franchise installment. Against all odds, the movie was actually pretty good and it added the most interesting bits to the series lore, opening the series up to some very interesting story elements to be explored down the road.
The first 20-30 minutes of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones are plain ‘ol fun. It’s a family doing what family would do after a member graduates from school. There’s a party, drinking, dancing, then we get to see a few days of ‘normal’ life - Real people doing good people things. It’s smile-inducing, especially with lead characters Hector and Jesse being all about the jokes.
After that, we get hints of the crazy but unlike the other films it’s not all about the jump scares. In fact, there are less scares than all of the other movies but that doesn’t mean the second half of the film isn’t creepy. Because it is, and it’s largely successful thanks to the believable characters and some interesting set pieces.
The problem with the film is that killed my attachment to the characters as soon as they started exploring and making stupid decisions – not decisions that dumb people make, decisions NO ONE would ever make ever. That ruined what I needed from the film to pull me into the supernatural elements. Luckily, they did enough fun stuff and had quite a few cool moments to keep me on the edge of my seat.
The film’s second half was largely built around ideas for these big moments and set pieces instead of a story or journey that made complete sense. Still, the characters were more interesting and entertaining than in the last few films and they did very smart things with the lore and franchise thanks to an epic twist at the end which successfully got me excited about the brand again – something the last two did the opposite of. If you’ve seen the last four or dig found footage films, I’d recommend seeing this one in theaters with a friend. Cuz you’ll have a lot to talk about when it’s over. This one again had a big impact on the audience.