Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the most popular horror franchise of the last several years. The movie was directed by Christopher Landon who also has co-writing credits on this and the previous three installments alongside series creator Oren Peli. Andrew Jacobs, Jorge Diaz, Gabrielle Walsh, Renee Victor, Noemi Gonzalez, Gloria Sandoval, Molly Ephraim, and David Saucedo all star in the film.
Shortly after graduating high school, Jesse Arista (Jacobs) and his friends are left trying to figure out what to do with their lives. While running around with a camcorder and a GoPro isn't usually the best use of anyone's time, it turns out to be a stroke of luck when they are able to record some really strange happenings. Jesse's downstairs neighbor Anna (Sandoval) has always been rumored to be a witch and that theory gains a lot of weight when she is found dead in her apartment which is filled with lots of creepy stuff. Eventually, Jesse begins to experience some creepy stuff of his own and he eventually comes to the realization that he may have been marked for evil purpose by a supernatural force.
I'll admit, I am a fan of this series and have followed along every step of the way. Each installment, while going through the same basic story beats of a supernatural possession movie, also manages to progress the overall narrative and expands the world further and further along. The main difference with this film is how it moves farther away from Katie and Kristi's family and introduces the audience to a whole new cast of characters. Apparently, the Hispanic demographic has been a major force in the franchise's financial success so the creative team has decided to throw them a bone with a story set within a Latino community in Oxnard, California. This doesn't have much impact on the story so we pretty much get more of the same stuff we've seen in previous installments.
I would have to say this is the funniest of the five films so far which makes for a nice balance of humor to go along with the thrills and scares. Honestly, there aren't a ton of scary moments but, as usual, the buildup to each one is perfectly timed with some tension filled moments filled with darkened hallways and creepy sounds hidden around every corner. By the time Jesse is in full on possession mode, Landon and Peli begin to show us that they may not have strayed as far away from the original story as we are initially led to believe and of course, by the time it's over, everything is set up nicely for yet another forthcoming installment.
While seeing the previous four films isn't absolutely necessary to being able to follow along with this one, I would recommend seeing them at some point if you haven't already. Your enjoyment of this film will also depend on your tolerance of found footage films so make sure you are prepared for that as well. Overall, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is a solid entry into the franchise and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what the creative team can come up with next.
Check out my reviews of the previous two films:
Paranormal Activity 4
Paranormal Activity 3