It’s amazing how far the “Paranormal Activity” series has come from its earliest inception. The original film, cost only 15,000 to make, and rake in millions. It had become an instant classic in the genre with a big impact on both the horror genre and the film industry. Helping to popularize the “found footage” genre of film. A genre not exclusive to horror either. However among the imitators the series was able to hold its head above those imitators and stand out. The sequels were never able to capture the original’s success it found in critical acclaim however I enjoyed the 2nd and 3rd films in the franchise. Each one expanded the story and somehow manage to build the story to levels that when the first entry came out, no one ever conceived before. By the third film though the novelty seem to be wearing thin. We’ve seen everything that you could really do with the series and even the genre as a whole seemed played out. Many film fans started to grow tired of the genre and felt that it had become a cheap and gimmicky way of making a movie. The 4th film came out and was panned by critics and audiences alike for good reason. The 5th movie was pushed back a year and then this so called “spinoff” was released that was to set on a group of new characters and expand on the story even further. It’s being called a spinoff but I really don’t see it as a spinoff, just a different chapter in the series while they make the official 5th entry. Does the quasi spinoff deliver and improve on the awful 4th entry? No it does not in the slightest, in fact it is worse than the 4th one. “Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” is a boring, poorly acted, devoid of any scars or suspense, horror film. That is becoming an ever increasing bloated story that needs to reach a conclusion soon.
In this installment, Jessie and his friends start to notice strange things and occurrences after a woman dies in the neighborhood. With that he also learns he has almost super human powers. But soon he begins acting strangely and starts becoming more and more violent as he is seemingly become possessed.
If you read the synopsis of the film it actually sounds really interesting and intriguing. However the execution of it is really poor. Although I do give the writers a little credit for trying to do something a little different with the formula that had grown stale in by the 4th one. But what the movie ends up being is a “Chronicle” rip off, where teenagers have superpowers and start to use it and happen to be filming themselves. It stays on that path until about 2/3 thirds of the way through when it simply becomes another standard “paranormal” adventure. Once it switches between the two it goes from laughable rip off to stale, tedious, boring and predictable standard “Paranormal Activity” film.
The first film started off with a simple standard haunted house story and each sequel added something bigger to the story and it grew larger and larger. Now the story has grown so large and bloated that it feels so out of touch of what the original was about or even the next two in the series. Not only that, but it feels like the story will never have an ending point. It’s almost comical what the writers keep revealing in each movie because you know the next one will try to have a bigger twist. When each one is revealed it becomes more ridicules. Eventually you start wonder where it will all end? I won’t give anything away here, but the twist in this movie is even more ludicrous then by even this series standards.
First and foremost this is a horror movie, designed to scare you and a poor plot can be made up with a good scare fest. The problem is it isn’t scary either. There is no tension or any build up to any of the scares. There is no longer any creativity to any of the horror. In “Paranormal Activity 3” there was an ingenious device where a camera was placed on an isolate and when it turned you lost view of part of the room and when it started to turn back you were left with suspense and wonder over what was going to be in that side of the room, probably the single best tactic in that film. In the original it was the darkness that was scary. In this it’s a bunch of teenage idiots from “Project X” running around with a camera. I’m not even sure there was ever a real reason for them filming everything. Even the lackluster 4th one had a reason. Many of the scares are so predictable too. They resort to trying to do jump scares that even don’t make you jump. The only legit creepy moment comes at the last 15 seconds of the movie, the last final part of the movie. It’s not scary but a little creepy in the moment but once you realize where the plot has taken you, it’ll just purely anger the viewer because of the ridiculousness of the twist.
I said earlier the characters were a bunch of idiots that reminded me of characters from “Project X” (2012). That’s because that’s exactly what they are, a bunch of idiot teenagers that you’ll have no sympathy for. They are annoying and poorly performed from the actors that the producers seemed to have picked from random. I was rooting for them to meet their demise. There is zero pathos in any of these characters.
When it comes down to it simply put this is an awful movie. There is no scares nor is there any tension. No suspense, no creepiness or atmosphere. The acting and characters are terrible, and the story has gotten way out of hand and too large. The twists have grown to ridiculous levels to the point. I didn’t like the 4th one, this one is even worse, my excitement for the official 5th installment has since gone away. I hope they wrap up the series soon with one strong finale and let this series rest in peace.