While most Horror aficionados agree that 2013 was amazing for genre films, both mainstream and independent, 2014 is poised to be another epic year. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones was released nationwide on January 3rd.
Read my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: After being “marked,” Jesse begins to be pursued by mysterious forces while his family and friends try to save him.
It’s June 2012 and the future looks bright for newly graduated 18 year-old Jesse… until he starts changing. He’s become distant, withdrawn, and depressed. He’s father wonders what he’s up to in the bathroom. His lips are covered with white crusty shit. He seems unable to control aggressive urges towards people and Chihuahuas. His friends and grandmother intervene, which causes an explosive confrontation.
Jesse’s story sounds familiar to anyone experienced with addiction, but except for an occasional hit of ganga, Jesse doesn’t do drugs.
Jesse is possessed.
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is not a sequel to the wildly successful Paranormal Activity franchise, it’s a spin off. Created specifically for the Latin American market where this series has been most popular, The Marked Ones takes the established mythology to a new community where an intangible evil entity terrorizes a new family. While benefiting from tenuous connections to Parts 1-4, The Marked Ones is solid enough to stand alone—almost.
I can’t say I experienced any serious jolts while viewing. The PA series has taught us what to expect and when to expect it. The low, sub-bass rumble the slowly builds in intensity until—BAM. Still, the effects are the best yet for the series, and incredible when compared to your average found-footage endeavor. I’ve never seen physical reality twisting into a vortex before a floating body is expelled from ether in an electric explosion before. My stomach did a bit of a loop when I saw the dog on the ceiling.
The Marked Ones will go far by appealing to a younger audience while maintaining its adult sensibilities. The script moves quickly (unlike the unforgivably slow paces of parts 2 and 4) and the acting feels genuine and real. While it’s not as spooky as the other PA offerings (until the climax), The Marked Ones manages to instill dread, even in small crowded apartments.
While the film is solid, the ending will disappoint some and confound many. The story doesn’t completely unravel, but it certainly does fray. Newcomers to the franchise will be completely lost, which will no doubt lead to poor reviews and word of mouth. But even those experienced with PA will be left scratching their heads. The climax isn’t indecipherable, but it IS complicated. I imagine the producers wanted us to keep talking after the lights came back on, even debate the conclusion’s implications. Some Horror aficionados will appreciate an engagement that last beyond the viewing experience. Others, not so much.
Also, the ending is the only thing that keeps The Marked Ones from standing alone. So it’s almost like the filmmakers are saying, “If you want to know what the ending means, you better go back and watch the rest of the franchise”.
The Marked Ones has possession, witches, and some of the best eye-candy you’re likely to see in any found-footage offering.
4 out of 5 Skull Heads.
|Release date||January 3 2014|
|Starring||Richard Cabral, Carlos Pratts, Eddie J. Fernandez|