***WARNING! This review contains spoilers. Read at your own cost***
Jessie begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbor. As he investigates, it isn’t long before Jessie finds he’s been marked for possession by a malevolent demonic entity, and it’s only a matter of time before he is completely under its control (imdb.com)
I love/hate these movies. I really do.
I’ve been dying to see Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks for the longest time, but I have to once again put them both aside because a new Paranormal Activity movie is out. Why on earth would I do that you ask. Simple, because I’m addicted to these movies. I’m addicted to their dumb as hell plot (that gets even dumber with this addition), the look of their films (even if it is using the same gimmick from the first one, it still works for this franchise), and the audience’s reaction when something scary happens.
As a story, PA: Marked Ones is actually pretty interesting. We see the slow progression of Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) as a basic teenaged guy going through a huge change as he loses more and more of himself to the monster that’s taking control of his body and how it effects most of those around him (his friends (Jorge Diaz and Gabrielle Walsh) and grandmother (Renee Victor) are part of the main focus, yet his dad and sister are pushed to the side for some odd reason).Unlike the previous installments that revolve around a demon attacking some family every night, this film keeps the focus on Jesse and the change he’s undergoing. However, this movie does carry the same formula as the other PA movies where the incidents and horrible things escalate until the very end and we’re left with a final jump scare which is typical, but they do change it up and don’t perform the repetitive scares of the previous entries.
The acting was very standard for this series. I wish I could say more, but considering these movies are more about effects and acting terrified, there’s not much to say about acting. The producers/casting agents get a bunch of unnamed actors/actresses and put them in these movies. If anything they’re a homage to what the Halloween, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street series did and they produced Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Bacon, Johnny Depp, and Crispin Glover. So who knows if we’ll be seeing any of these actors down the line.
The visuals are on par with the other PA films. Stuff moves around without someone/thing moving it, shadows are seen, faces turn demonic, bodies crash through cars, standard PA stuff. However, I would say this movie does have the biggest body count in all the PA films. With the exception of a certain reappearing act and a dog on a ceiling (it happens) there’s nothing much new this addition has to offer.
While this is technically a spin off to the series (Paranormal Activity 5 comes out in October of this year), there are a lot of call backs to the previous installments including the re-emergence of 4 significant characters, and two very familiar locations. This will please some fans, while piss off others trying to figure out just what the hell is going on with this story. Here’s a quick rundown:
(PA 3) A demon makes a deal with a witch for wealth in return the demon gets the first born male child. The Demon murders the parents of the witch’s granddaughters. (PA 2)A demon is haunting a one of the grand daughters (now grown up and with a female teen and baby male), wanting their first born male child. (PA 1) The demon is passed onto the aunt of the family, the demon possessed the aunt of the family, the aunt murders her boyfriend and the family of the child. (PA 4) The male child is adopted by another family (huh? how?) and is murdered by the same aunt and demon so they can get the child back, oh now apparently there’s a cult that praises this demon and the satanic arts.
Got all of that? Hope so cause it is confusing the hell out of me.
Like the previous installments, very few questions are answered (What happened to the VHS tapes? Who were those black cloaked women from PA 3?) but even more are raised (what is this cult building an army for? They’re named the Mid Wives? What kind of stupid name is that?! They can travel through time?! Are you kidding me? It’s been 5 movies and the best defense they can come up against a demonic possession are eggs?). By this point, we’re looking at the 9th-10th installment of this series before we’re given a legitimate defense against these forces.
Like the horror franchises of the past, PA is slowly being milked for all its worth. We’re now 5 installments in and not once has any film ended on a happy note. Hell, at least in Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street you had the belief that the monster was defeated and was gone for good. In PA, nope, it’s all the same, unstoppable force and its now cult full of middle aged women… I’m sorry but while they do pack knives, middle aged women in cloaks yelling gibberish is not scary. It’s funny. All in all, I give this movie a 2 out of 4. It’s a decent horror flick, but it doesn’t pack the same scares as the original film or the third one.
Best bit in the movie- When a cult member gets blasted away by a shot gun wielding gangsta and goes flying at least 15 feet back. Hilarious.
Worst bit in the movie- The ending, while bringing it back to the original film is a nice touch, it’s more of the same jump scare crap. Also, the cult members mastered time travel!?!?!?!? We can’t have a Superman/Doomsday movie but Paranormal Activity can have time travel in their series?!?!?! Give me a f’n break.
Quick add on: Here’s a quick review on the previous installments on the Paranormal Activity series.
PA 1- Amazing! One of the best horror films and theater experiences I’ve ever had. So much fun and different. 4 out of 4, great movie (especially on a date, but has no replay value).
PA 2- Okay. Not quite as good as the first. I enjoyed the twist, but the ending was more funny than scary. 2 out of 4, no replay value.
PA 3- Great sequel. The kids were great, the effects were solid, and the story had a great build up until the ending which left more questions than answers. 3 out of 4, the best sequel to come from the series, although to this day I’m disappointed they didn’t do anything with the Teddy Ruxpin doll.
PA 4- Awful, awful movie. By far the worst in the franchise, more questions were raised and zero answers were given. The movie had no reason to be made and didn’t progress the story whatsoever. 1 out of 4, by itself it’s an okay flick but to the rest of the series it’s pointless.